The Musée Nissim de Camondo is one of the most beautiful museums in Paris. While it’s mostly unknown for first-time visitors, everyone else should add this to their must-see list immediately.
Just a stone’s throw away from the grand gardens of the Parc Monceau, this stunning mansion is a treasure trove of 18th century decorative arts, but comes with a tragic history.
We visited the museum as part of our exploration of the 8th arrondissement. And, sensing that you readers might want to see it too, we brought our photographer Augusta Sagnelli, who took all the photos you’re about to see.
But First … A Brief History of the Musée Nissim de Camondo
The home was built in 1911 to house Count Moïse Camondo’s extensive 18th century furniture collection. The design of the mansion was based on the Petit Trianon on Versailles.
The Count died in 1936 and donated his home to the nation (Les Arts Decoratif) in honour of his son, Nissim de Camondo, the namesake for this museum, who died fighting for France in the First World War. The museum opened to the public in that same year and to this day, the furniture, decoration and art remain the same as when it was a private residence.
There is a haunting end to the Camondo dynasty. The Count’s daughter Beatrice, her husband, and their two children were murdered in the Auschwitz extermination camp during the Second World War. Here is an in-depth article about the museum’s historic importance as “a temple of gilded abundance” but also a “somber meditation on a world that was brutally destroyed”.
What’s inside the Musée Nissim de Camondo?
The Musée Nissim de Camondo is dedicated to the decorative arts of the 18th century. So there is a range of furniture, paintings, mirrors, tapestries and other decorative elements all matched seamlessly with exceptional wall paper.
The official website trumpets of “objects from the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI: chairs from the Turkish Room of Louis XVI’s sister Madame Elisabeth; carpets from the Savonnerie factory, commissioned for the Louvre’s Grande Galerie; pieces from the silver service presented by Catherine the Great to her lover, Prince Orlov; and a roll-top desk by the cabinetmaker Jean-François Oeben.”
But even if you’re not an expert on decorative arts and furniture, you can appreciate a stroll through this magnificent museum and its many rooms, including (but not limited to):
The living area and private apartments
Details that will take your breath away
An incredible kitchen basement
An exceptional stairwell
And a picture-perfect exterior
And let’s not forget, always keep your eyes peeled for the finer details.
Musée Nissim de Camondo in pop culture
The museum was featured as the home of the bad guy (Monsieur Pelligrini) in the popular Netflix series Lupin. There are shots of the lobby, gardens, library, and the roof.
Practical information for the Musée Nissim de Camondo
The museum is located a very brief walk from Parc Monceau. We recommend visiting one after the other.
If you’re looking for something a little different the museum does offer “theatrical visits”: an actor plays a butler touring you through the museum as if it’s reception day in 1930. Note: These theatrical tours are in French and only happen a few times each year, so check the website for details.
Metro: Line 3: Monceau/Villiers
Bus: 20, 93
The Earful Tower podcast episode
You can listen to the podcast below where we share our discoveries of the 8th arrondissement and how charmed we were by the Musée Nissim de Camondo. This podcast episode also features an interview with Gabriel from the excellent hole-in-the-wall cafe Iwi – and also with Nat Katz, the canon from the American Cathedral of Paris. At the end we reveal our final ranking on the district out of 100.
Video guide to the 8th arrondissement
And that’s it! A big thanks to Augusta Sagnelli for the photos and to the Patreon members who make all this possible. Join them here.
You can find all our tips for the 8th district’s best restaurants, cafes, and attractions here. Otherwise see you next week for our trip to the 7th arrondissement.
Want more? You can support our work by buying one of our children’s books, or our PDF guide, below. Merci!
Article by Charlotte Pleasants