PARIS - Museum Nissim de Camondo

My favorite small museum in Paris is the Museum Nissim de Camondo located in Monceau Park, just a few blocks away from the Arc du Triomphe.

The Camondo, as it's best known by locals, is housed in the Belle Epoque home of Mr. Moise de Camondo, a Jewish millionaire banker that migrated from Istanbul in the late 1800's. This family was so wealthy, they were referred to as the Rothschilds of the East.

The story of the Camondo family is tragic and grand. They migrated to Paris around 1860 and very quickly, joined the ranks of the wealthy elite of Paris. They gave memorable parties in their spectacular Paris mansions and collected much of the Impressionist art of the time. Much of the art exhibited today in the Musee de Orsay, was donated by the Camondos.

During World War I, 22 year old Nissim de Camond, Moise's only son, joined the French Air Force to serve as a pilot. Tragically, he was killed during a mission before the war ended. His father never recovered from this loss and as a result, became a recluse in his beautiful mansion set on the edge of Monceau Park. With out ever leaving his home, he collected period furniture determined to bequeath his collection in the name of his son Nissim, to France.

Sr. Camondo died in 1935 leaving a daugther, Beatrice, a son in law and two grand children behind. Sadly, all four of them were sent to concentration camps during the German occupation of Paris in the 1940's and they did not survive the war. Their death, wiped out the last members of this powerful family from existence.

To visit the museum, take the yellow Metro line to Etoile (Arc du Triomphe) and change to the purple line (or line #2) to Monceau. When you get out of the Metro, you will see Park Monceau. It is a beautiful, small park in an area seldom visited by tourists. Enter the park and cross it . On the other side, on 63 Rue Monceau you will find the entrance to the museum. It is a gorgeous mansion furnished with spectacular masterpieces, as if the family still lived there.

The museum entrance fee is 6 Euros and they offer free headsets in English, if interested. They also have free guided tours every Sunday at 11 am from October to May and they show a movie about the family that runs continuously, but it's in French.

Le Musee Nissim de Camondo
63 rue de Monceau
Metro - Monceau
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays


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