This small town house was raised for Méderic de Donon, contrôleur général des bâtiments du roi, in a very fashionable district (the Marais) on two parcels bought in 1575. We don't know the name of the architect, but we usually attribute it to Philibert de l'Orme or one of his pupils, maybe Jean Bullant.
The building was deteriorated little by little. But the famous couple Cognacq-Jay stepped in! Their story? They owned a small shop in 1870, on Paris quays... a little shop which, later, would become one of the greatest departments stores in Paris, the Samaritaine. Mister and Mrs. Cognacq-Jay liked to devote to charities, as orphanage and hospice creation.
But above all, Ernest Cognacq was a big amateur of art: he had an amazing collection dedicated to the 18th century! This small museum was first located on the boulevard des Capucines, then it moved in the Donon hotel in 1986 when the city of Paris owned it. The architect Réoven Vardi had to reassemble panelings in the narrow Donon hotel...