Fleeing his creditors, in 1840, writer Honoré de Balzac rented this small house in what was then the village of Passy, where he lived for 7 years under an assumed name. He also worked like a demon: He was capable of writing for up to 20 hours a day for weeks at a time. The five rooms of Balzac’s apartments are hung with paintings and portraits of his family and friends, including several of Madame Hanska, whom he finally married after 18 years of passionate correspondence. There are also a few manuscripts and personal objects, including his turquoise-encrusted cane, which was the talk of Paris, and his monogrammed coffee pot, which kept him going through the marathon work sessions. In his office is the little table where he wrote The Human Comedy, “a witness,” he wrote to Madame Hanska, “to my worries, my miseries, my distress, my joys, everything . . . my arm almost wore out its surface from taking the same path over and over again.”