One of the first owners, and the person who gave the building its name was Nicolas Carré de Baudouin. After inheriting the property in 1770 he asked the architect Pierre-Louis Moreau-Desproux to add a more regal façade and the two decided on neo-Palladian with four ionic columns. The house was a 'folie', a country house outside the city walls where fantastic parties were held with magnificent views back across Paris. Later the house was owned by the Goncourt family, and the two writer brothers, Jules and Edmond, apparently spent many happy childhood years here.
The 19th century brought more troubled times and in 1836 the house was sold to the Soeurs de Saint Vincent de Paul who built a second building along the garden and transformed it into an orphanage. A message is still clearly visible above the entrance to the new wing; Laissez Venir a Moi Les Petits Enfants (let the little children come to me). The building kept its religious purpose until 1992 when they decided to sell. The city of Paris stepped in to save a building which was now in a sad state, and spent 4 years and over 29 million Euros renovating the gardens and buildings.
The renovation, overseen by the architects Stéphane Bigoni and Antoine Mortemard, is magnificent and the building now houses large and pleasant galleries. From May to the end of August this year, it is the site of an exhibition celebrating the work of three of the best known street artists in Paris; Mesnager, Mosko et associés, and Nemo. Mesnager is famous for his simple white human forms, Mosko et associés for his animals and Nemo for his black sillouettes, and the three have been spread around the building, sometimes sharing walls and frames.
Pavillon Carré de Baudouin
119-121, rue de Ménilmontant, 75020
From the 15th of May to the 29th of August 2009
Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 6pm