Main living room, first floor, Saché, Balzac Museum, photo Stevens Frémont.

First floor

Visitors begin their tour by passing through the bossage door then up a large 17th century staircase to the first floor. The reception rooms whisk you away to the early 19th century. The living room (listed as a Monument Historique) is a feast for the eyes with staggering trompe-l’oeil wallpaper from the first quarter of the 19th century. This dramatic interior set the scene for Balzac's games of whist and backgammon with Jean Margonne. The wallpaper from the first quarter of the 19th century in the dining room (listed as a Monument Historique) is based on an original panel. The mythological frieze may have inspired the description of the Vauquer boarding house's lounge in Father Goriot whose manuscript Balzac wrote in Saché in 1834.

Second floor

The tour continues on the second floor. Visitors venture up the 15th century spiral staircase to drink in the cosy bedroom (listed as a Monument Historique) where the author of The Human Comedy spent long hours drinking countless cups of coffee to fuel his imagination. The other rooms on this floor introduce visitors to Balzac's life and work with a presentation of permanent collections (prints, manuscripts, engravings, paintings and sculptures) and replicas of rooms in The Human Comedy (Abbot Birotteau's bedroom in The Vicar of Tours, Derville's legal office in Colonel Chabert, Foedora's boudoir in The Magic Skin).

Balzac's bedroom, second floor, Saché, Balzac Museum, photo Stevens Frémont.

Printing room, ground floor, Saché, Balzac Museum, photo Stevens Frémont.

Ground floor

The tour ends on the ground floor of the museum. A 19th century printing workshop has been replicated to present Balzac's work as a printer between 1826 and 1828. The Rodin gallery is devoted to the artist's work here in the late 19th century for a commission from the Société des Gens de Lettres: several plaster and bronze studies are on show alongside sculptures by Rodin's contemporaries (Alexandre Falguière, Marquet de Vasselot).