Though I love to visit writers’ houses, I only recently trekked out to Western Paris to the neighborhood that was once a smaller village, Passy, to visit La Maison de Balzac.
Balzac moved into this house in 1840 under a pseudonym, Monsieur de Breugnol, in order to evade creditors. It sort of feels like it. The neighborhood is a good distance from the attention-getting arrondisements in a residential, quiet area filled with curvy tree-lined streets, grand houses and colorful gardens.
The house is situated away from the street, down a staircase. The selling point may have been a network of underground cellars leading from the garden down to the Seine, handy for a quick escape from unwanted visitors.
Here, Balzac’s study is preserved. Here’s where all the magic happened.
Paintings, engravings, first editions, manuscripts and printing plates fill the house. Among the personal items is the notable monogrammed cafetière that fueled his writing binges.
The first room contains sculptures.
This is the only one of Balzac’s Paris homes still standing.
47, rue Raynouard
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday