The musée Carnavalet is devoted to the history of the city of Paris. It was opened by the municipal authorities in 1880 at a time when the city was undergoing the great urban development projects directed by Baron Haussmann. Its composite architecture is composed of two private residences: that of the Carnavalet family, built in 1548 and restored by François Mansart in 1655, and of Pelletier de Saint- Fargeau, built by Pierre Bullet in 1688. In addition to these, there are the architectural remains of buildings demolished in the 19th century and reconstructed in the gardens, and a supplementary building that links the whole together, the construction of which continued up until the start of the 20th century.
Over time, successive additions and redevelopments rendered problematic the plan of the visit to the museum, as well as its operation. The City of Paris therefore decided upon a partial renovation to restore coherence and appeal to the site.