carnavalet

Carnavalet Museum

Location: Paris, France

Anyone wishing to understand Paris’ multi-tiered, complex history would do well to pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively), the Carnavalet Museum’s permanent collection traces the history of Paris across over 100 rooms. This exhibit is free of charge to all visitors, and arguably tops the list of Paris’ free museums. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibits highlighting various periods or aspects of the Parisian heritage.

Set of revolutionary pikes 

Amongst them a very rare Morning star and a theatre pike that is crowned with a Phrygian cap


More ominous [than the liberty caps] and far from merely symbolic was the movement to arm the Parisians as an additional line of defense before the prospects of war. With muskets in short supply, the weapon of choice became the pike, the pole with a sharp hook-like blade at the end, devised by the Swiss for the wars of an earlier age. It was […] Brissot who emerged as the prime promoter — drawing inspiration from the citizen soldiers of Greece and Rome. The idea was of considerable political significance in that it was a means of arming “passive citizens,” previously forbidden to participate in the national guard. With both the city and the Assembly fraught with obsessive fears of plots, the pike was billed as the ideal instrument for intimidating internal opponents and counterrevolutionaries. A number of the militants referred to the pikes’ potential for “terrorizing” their enemies. Couthon wrote of the “salutary terror” they would generate, acting like “the scarecrows that peasants place among their crops to keep away undesirable animals.” Soon several of the sections of Paris were independently ordering the manufacture of pikes. Urged on by a group of patriotic women, the fraternal societies even took up a collection to subsidize their production throughout the city.

The Coming of the Terror (Timothy Tackett)

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Francois Boucher (1703-1770), Jean-Baptiste  Huet (1745-1811) and Jean Honore Fragonard (1732-1806)   collaborated between 1765 and 1770 on a decorative scheme for the engraver Gilles Demarteau’s house in Paris, consisting of large paintings representing landscapes and animals, against a trellis-like backdrop. 

Panneaux du Salon Demarteau, 18nth Century

Musee Carnavalet

Paris, France