However, with the vast collection, the premises were really too small, and so, on 15th April 2010, this museum in Paris moved to much larger premises on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in a place befitting what the museum is all about.
The Boulevard Saint-Germain Building
In fact, it is within this area that Madame du Deffand, the heiress of the Marquise de Sevigne would write about the people she entertained, and where Mademoiselle de Lespinasse wrote her beautiful love letters.
There was once a religious estate with monastic buildings on the site where the Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits is now located and some of these buildings have still been preserved behind the more recent buildings along the Boulevard. And in fact, there was also once the private mansion of Claude de Saint-Simon, who was King Louis XIVs famous memorialist.
But during the redevelopment of Paris in the time of Baron Haussmann, the two building at 222 Boulevard Saint-Germain were constructed, and these were then used by book sellers and publishes for almost half a century.
And today, the buildings have undergone renovations, but also rediscovering much of the original architecture that has also been restored, just like the central atrium, so not only can people discover a fascinating and unusual look at history, but in a very historical place as well.
About the Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits
The Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits now contains an absolutely phenomenal collection of over 70,000 letters, manuscripts, autographs, sketches, drafts and first editions, with around 1000 of these most significant pieces being permanently displayed over an area of approximately 600 metres squared.
This museum is in an idyllic setting for presenting the written word of many historical figures including Napoleon Bonaparte I, Albert Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Victor Hugo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Monet, General Eisenhower, General Charles de Gaulle, George Sand, Eugene Delacroix, Charles Baudelaire and Gustave Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower.
Spread over two floors, the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts has its permanent collection within the basement area and the central main room is dedicated to antiquities, history and new acquisitions. The second room hosts manuscripts that relate to science, discovery and music including letters, musical scores, etc, whereas the third room hold exhibits that relate to arts, literature and book binding.
Now one of the more recent documents that this museum in Paris has acquired include a signed certificate from Marie Curie that accompanied a radium machine. And if you did not know, she was a physicist that won a Nobel prize and was the first woman to be interred with The Pantheon, which is a famous burial place and monument in Paris.
Another signed letter recently acquired was from Marie-Antoinette when she was being detained at the former Tuileries palace for her own safety and this was dated 18th April 1791, which was during the French Revolution.
On the other floor, this space is reserved for temporary and themed exhibitions and the collections are displayed in a modern layout that was especially conceived in order to preserve and enhance the most prestigious and fragile documents, especially when it come to the lighting utilised within this Museum.
The amount of history and emotion that is portrayed in the written word throughout history is a fascinating experience, and it lets us embrace centuries of creativity, where we can immerse ourselves in stories, books and facts that have come about over time.
But there is also the opportunity for researchers and historians to examine documents not on permanent display, yet this is only by prior arrangement, however, there are also workshops available for both children and adults on different themes along with parties, although we would like to point out that at the moment these are only available in French.
Access to the Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits Museum
This museum is open on a Tuesday through to a Sunday from 10am to 7pm, however, there is a late opening until 9.30pm on a Thursday, yet it is always closed on a Monday and normally on national French holidays.
The normal cost of entry as of 2013 is €7 but is free for children under the age of 12 and for disabled visitors.
When it comes to guided visits of the temporary exhibition and the permanent collection, these are available for groups of 10 people or more and a guided tour with French sign language can also be arranged for the hearing impaired, but these must be booked in advance via telephone.
There are also workshops on different themes for both adults and children and to find out more you would need to telephone on +33 (0) 1 42 22 48 48, which is
the same for any party that you wished to organise. Plus there are also theatre visits for adults organised, where you can have a tour of the Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits with actors reliving great figures of the history of Paris such as Napoleon, Marie Curie, Louis XVI, etc. And as of 2013 these are a cost of €20 per person, yet reservations are also required for this via telephone in advance.
Now getting to the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts is very easy, as it is located in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris and the nearest Metro station is called the Rue du Bac, but others close by include the Sevres-Babylone and the Saint-Germain des Pres stops. However, for the RER on line C you would need the Musee d’Orsay stop, which is located right by the River Seine on the opposite side to the Tuileries Gardens, or by bus you would need numbers 63, 68, 69, 83 and 94.
Address and Contact Details
Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits
222 Boulevard Saint-Germain
Ile de France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 22 48 48
Fax: +33 (0) 1 42 25 01 87
Tourist attractions close by
- Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons
- Square Taras-Chevtchenko
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Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits Museum in Paris France
The Museum of Letters and Manuscripts is one of the unusual museums in Paris that was only founded back in 2004 and allows people to discover thousands of hand written letters and fascinating original manuscripts many dating back several hundred years.
A bit of history..
The Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits was founded by Gerad Lheritier and was originally set up in a building in the 6th Arrondissement of Paris, where it first opened to the public on the 18th June 2004.
And each year, up to and including 2009 they produced themed exhibitions, which included Latin handwriting and calligraphy, a musical journey from Mozart to Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau a star of stage and screen, love letters between Edith Piaf and Marcel Cerdan and the beginnings of the Aeropostale service, along with an exhibition called the Eagle and the Quill, that displayed rare Napoleonic manuscripts found in the United States.