This is part of Museum User Guides, a series with ideas for how to “use” museums. The activities suggested here propose a fresh way to understand and experience a particular collection.
Choose a day with moody weather–a cloudy day in October, for example–and make the trek up to Montmartre to the Musée de la Vie romantique (the museum dedicated to early 19th century Romantic artists) equipped with:
- Scented stationary and a luxurious pen
- A music-playing device with a playlist chockfull of the composers who hung out here back in the day (Chopin, Liszt, Rossini…)
Though the museum’s gardens are tempting, visit the collections first. The artworks are located in the house and ateliers where the painter Ary Scheffer received Parisian socialites and artists (Delacroix, Rossini, Chopin, Sand…) in the beginning of the 19th century.
Wander through the rooms of the atelier and the pink house, taking in the paintings’ dramatic gestures and suggestive gazes. Don’t miss the plaster casts of Chopin’s hand and George Sand’s arm. Imagine the conversations and intrigues between the artists who came here to visit.
Now that you are thoroughly soaked in 19th century sensibilities, cross the courtyard to enter the garden salon de thé.
As you sip your tea, surrounded by roses in one of the most tranquil hideaways in Paris, compose a love letter worthy of your locale. Declare your ardent devotion for the recipient, compare your love to various seasons, describe the violent feelings you experience in your lover’s presence and/or absence…
Basically, write the letter-equivalent of these:
Complete your letter by spraying it with some of your personal perfume. Inclusion of a lock of your hair, optional.
Musée de la Vie romantique
Address: 16 rue Chaptal 75009 Paris ∣ Métro: Saint-Georges (line 12), Pigalle (line 2 or 12), Blanche (line 2), Liège (line 13) ∣ Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm