Monday, January 20, 2014
It took me so many years to finally visit the Musée Nissim de Camondo, but it was worth the wait.
My favourite part of the house was the kitchen, where I could happily have spent all day/the rest of my life.
Less happy was the fate of the Camondo family. Moise de Camondo had the house, which faces into Parc Monceau, built in 1911, which he then filled with his collections of tapestries, furniture, porcelain and art. His son and heir Nissim was killed in the first world war, so Moise changed his will to bequeath the house and all its collections to Les Arts Decoratifs in his honour. The house opened as a museum after Moise's death in 1935. During the second world war, Camondo's daughter and her family were all taken to Auschwitz where they were killed, meaning the family line died with them. I imagine that if the house had not been in the possession of Les Arts Decoratifs already, then it may have been seized by the occupying German army and who knows what would have happened to it. It has always been preserved in its original condition as a family home, which is what makes it unique.
The area around Parc Monceau is not one I have reason to visit often. So after visiting the house, we walked in the bright winter sunlight of Parc Monceau, where piles of Christmas trees being chipped scented the air with fresh pine. Then I insisted on going to the cafe in Place Saint-Augustin and sitting in the same seat as Frédéric in L'Amour L'Apres-Midi, famously shown in this scene. Neither the cafe (or its menu!), nor the exterior view of Place Saint-Augustin seemed to have changed at all.