Gourmet Fair

Victor Hugo: A Look into His Life

A Mysterious Mushroom by Victor Hugo. Champignon. ©Paris Musées/Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — It is one of those hidden gems of the French capital tucked away into a corner of the Places des Vosges, the mansion of one of the greatest literary figures of all time, outfitted with a vest-pocket sized garden and one of the best bakery shops in the French capital. This is the private Parisian home of Victor Hugo, a home open to the public in which one can have glimpse into the life of the statesman (exiled), writer, poet and family man, of Victor Hugo one of the monuments of French literature.

The lace-like Gothic Cathedral drawn by Victor Hugo circa 1836-1837. Tours et èches d’une cathédrale gothique, vers 1836-1837 Photo ©Paris Musées/Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris-Guernesey. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

His home, a private mansion, has recently been restored and refurbished and the visitor, through the maze of rooms, can take a look into the life and times of one of the extraordinary men of the 19th century, Victor Hugo. The museum is also hosting an exceptional temporary exhibition devoted to 200 drawings that Hugo created over a period of 50 years emanating from the museum’s collection of 700 drawings. Drawings are fragile and so an exhibition devoted to them is always a rare event.

The Eddstone Lighthouse by Victor Hugo, 1856. Phare d’Eddstone 1856, Victor Hugo. ©Paris Musées/Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

In 1830, Victor Hugo began to draw his friends and family, scenes from his life and beyond creating a unique body of work. The show, entitled Victor Hugo, Drawings. In the Intimacy of Genius, is spread out over the two floors of the private mansion museum and astounds by the diversity of his subjects. There is the anonymous Gothic cathedral with its spires and towers as delicately crafted as lace, an ethereal scene of a village that takes place at dusk, a mysterious mushroom. The intriguing exhibition is running until November 21st.

The Key is Here, the Gate Elsewhere by Victor Hugo, 1871. Hic clavis alias porta. ©Paris Musées/Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

But the permanent collections including the beautifully appointed Chinese room and Hugo’s private apartments can always be admired. The back staircase leads the visitor to the mansion’s charming tree-filled garden which draws its inspiration from the ideal garden on the rue Plumet described by Hugo in his masterpiece, Les Misérables. And in a corner one finds the highly unusual serpent fountain. The coffee shop replete with terrace is managed by the house of Mulot, one of France’s finest bakeries, now under the helm of Fabien Rouillard.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
6 Place des Vosges
75004 Paris, France
33 (0)1 42 72 10 16

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