The following websites and descriptions will help you locate places in Paris related to Thomas Jefferson: Places he frequented from 1785-1789, places he loved, memorials to him, paintings, architecture and other artifacts he looked at while he was in Paris.
Hotel de Salm today: Center for the French Legion of Honor Society
Hotel de Salm under construction in 1787 as Jefferson would have seen it.
Passerelle Solférino crossing the Seine from the Hotel de Salm to the Tuileries
2.The Louvre Museum. In the Louvre an entire room is reserved for the giant paintings by Peter Paul Rubens depicting the life of Maria de Medici, by whom they were commissioned in the autumn of 1621. Another favorite painter of Jefferson's was Jaques Louis David. Jefferson was introduced to this painter in person by his friend John Trumbull (son of the Governor of Connecticut and for a while aide de camp to George Washington during the Revolution). Jefferson viewed David's Oath of the Hortii in the Louvre in 1786 (still hangs in the Louvre). Years later, Jefferson wrote to a friend "I do not feel an interest in any pencil but that of David." Of the 1787 Salon exhibition, Jefferson wrote to Trumbull: "The best thing is the Death of Socrates by David..."
Jacques Louis David: The Death of Socrates
Engraving of the Louvre Salon of 1787
Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun. Self-portrait. 1790. She was a friend of John Trumbull
3.The Jardin des Plantes. 57, rue Cuvier, Paris, France (5th arrondisement) Tel: +33 1 40 79 30 00. Located near the metro stations Quai de la Rapée. Jussieu, Censier-Daubenton or Gare d'Austerlitz.
This horticultural and zoological site originated with Guy de La Brosse, Louis XIII's physician, in 1626 as a medicinal herb garden. It was originally known as the Jardin du Roi. Jefferson's great friend the Comte de Buffon became the curator in 1739 and expanded the gardens greatly, adding a maze, the Labyrinth, which remains today. In 1792 the Royal Menagerie was moved to the gardens from Versailles. Jefferson and the Comte de Buffon had great mutual respect as students of natural history (Jefferson's Notes on The State of Virginia had made him famous in this department), but they greatly differed about the size and vigor of the flora and fauna of the New World, where Buffon had never set foot. It was to settle his argument that American fauna were quite vigorous that Jefferson had a friend ship him the bones of a moose (arrived in 1786), which stood ten feet tall at the shoulder and whose skeleton Jefferson had reconstructed in the foyer of the American Embassy.
An Artist's View of the Jardin des Plantes in 1830
18th Century Sketch of a Moose Calf
Jardin des Plantes today
Map of Paris focusing on the Jardin des Plantes and the Salpetriere Hospital
Paris Up Close guide provides astounding, graphical 3D birds'-eye views of all major tourist districts of Paris along with brief historical or architectural descriptions of palaces, mansions, churches, and other buildgings. A very unusual,helpful and lightweight book. Includes basic tourist information about Paris, such as a Métro map, tickets and taxis.
You can hire a guide in Paris to understand the history and architecture of the buildings you are looking at, but most guides give their tours in French. Or, you can purchase The Architecture of Paris by Andrew Ayers to read before, during and after your trip to the City of Light. The author writes factually and clearly though it is a serious guide to the structures that delight our walks in Paris. It is conveniently organized by the districts, "arrondissement" of the city and is well indexed. It includes the most famous sights, such as Notre Dame to the less famous but intriguing, such as architect Le Corbusier's Villa La Roche. Most people love walking Paris and admiring the architecture--this book will make sure you don't miss what you might like best and also that you will know what you are looking at. Includes chateaux as well as recent notable structures in nearby suburbs. Illustrations help identify the buildings.
This is THE BOOK to inform you about Jefferson's Paris years. If you want to know what it was like for the future president to live in Paris from 1784 to 1789 (as the momentum toward revolution built up) this is the classic and standard source. The book is beautifully written for the lay reader by a recognized Jefferson historian. Many interesting illustrations from the time and also contemporary photos of sites and objects from Jefferson's time.