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Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme

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The restoration

The restoration of the Hotel de Saint-Aignan The restoration of the Hotel de Saint-Aignan
©MAHJ

The building’s restoration began in 1978 with the restitution of its original design. Mezzanine floors which had been added were removed and the courtyard and garden were cleared. In 1981, the street facade and the entire roof were restored.

Bernard Fonquernie directed the building’s restoration with a view to it becoming the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme.

The first phase included the restoration of three of the main courtyard’s facades. The frieze of the upper cornice, the balustrade and certain capitals were restored using models which had survived on site or archival documents. The courtyard’s trompe l’oeil facade and wooden elements were restored. The restitution of the sculpted coat of arms of the Saint-Aignan family on the pediment of the courtyard’s main facade is done in accordance with the principle of restoring the mansion to its state at the beginning of the 18th century.

Work continued in 1998 with the restoration of the garden facade according to the Le Muet’s original design, the completion of the courtyard facades, the chapel and the interior, including the reconstruction of the main staircase and the restoration of archaeological elements in certain rooms. The hallway kept its design with niches and the murals in the dining room and in window embrasures were restored and completed, as was a the surviving sculpted wood ceiling in a small drawing room known as the ‘Duke’s Room’.

There is no known description of the garden of the Hôtel d’Avaux. However, when the Duc de Saint-Aignan enlarged the mansion and modified its interior, he had the garden behind the main living quarters redesigned. A report of an inspection of the building work in November 1691 indicates that Le Nôtre was among those working at the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan. The new, classical garden had foliated beds, a round pond in line with the hallway and trellis bowers which concealed the garden’s irregularly shaped far end. Its exact original shape has been retained and, now that the plot has been cleared, the garden can be recreated following its 18th century design.

 
 

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