From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Paris is the capital of France and Thomas Jefferson lived there while he was U.S. minister to France from 1784 to 1789.


Jefferson's Residences

  • 1784 August 6-10. Lodges on the Right Bank at the Hotel d'Orleans (Rue de Richelieu near the Palais Royal).
  • 1784 August 10-October 17. Lodges on the Left Bank at the Hotel D'Orleans (Rue des Petits Augustins-present Rue Bonaparte).
  • 1784 October 17-1785 October 17. Rents a house on the Cul-de-sac Taitbout near the present Boulevard Haussmann. Jefferson called it "Hotel Tetebout."
  • 1785 October 17-1789 September 26. Rents the Hotel de Langeac (corner of the Rue de Berri and the Champs-Elysees).

Primary Source References[1]

1785 September 20. (Jefferson to James Madison). "You see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as its object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect to the world, and procure them its praise."[2]

1785 September 20. (Jefferson to James Madison). "We took for our model what is called the Maison quarrée of Nismes, one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful and precious morsel of architecture left us by antiquity."[3]

1785 September 30. (Jefferson to Charles Bellini). "Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! ….I have never yet seen a man drunk in France, even among the lowerst of people. Were I to proceed to tell you how much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture, painting, music, I should want words. It is in these arts they shine."[4]

1787 March 2. (Jefferson to To Madame de Tessé). "“While in Paris, I was violently smitten with the Hotel de Salm, and used to go to the Thuileries almost daily, to look at it.”[5]

1787 August 30. (Jefferson to John Trumbull).“The Salon has been open for or five days. I inclose you a list of it’s treasures. The best thing is the Death of Socrates by David, and a superb one it is. A crucifixion by Roland in imitation of Relief is as perfect as it can be. Five pieces of antiquities by Robert are also among the foremost. Many portraits of Madme. Le Brun are exhibited and much approved. There are abundance of things in the stile of mediocrity. Upon the whole it is well worth your coming to see…The whole will be an affair of 12. or 14. days and as many guineas; and as it happens but once in two years, you should not miss it."[6]


  1. Please note that this list should not be considered comprehensive
  2. PTJ, 8:535.
  3. Ibid, 8:534-535.
  4. Ibid, 8:569.
  5. Peterson, Writings, 891.
  6. PTJ, 12:69.

Further Sources