Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris
5 Oct 2011 - 19 Feb 2012
Palais de Chaillot, 1 place du Trocadéro 75116 Paris
+33 1 58 51 52 00

The townhouse is a key part of Paris’s architectural character and we can trace the story of the capital by studying the development of the townhouse in different districts of the city.

The Parisian town house made its first appearance in the Middle Ages and became more popular during the 16th century when, thanks to François I, Paris again became the political capital where the monarchic state assembled and settled. It was important to be at court, near the King, and, therefore, at Paris. This golden age continued throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The last of the townhouses were built in the period between the two world wars, marking the end of a long history, but they still exist in today’s 21st century Paris and are very much in use: (museums, embassies, ministries). This exhibition aims to explore this history and takes the visitor on three complementary and illuminating journeys, in a bid to discover the secret of the Parisian town house.

The first section features a small reconstructed townhouse, between garden and courtyard, with different authentically decorated rooms for the visitor to explore. In the second section of the exhibition, the visitor will take a journey through the history of the townhouse, this time organized chronologically, from the Middle Ages to the Belle Epoque. The last section offers themed reading, examining the Parisian hotel as an architectural object.