Following a four-year renovation, the Hôtel de la Marine Reopened as a Major Design Museum. Introduces a dazzling array of pieces, including a sofa made for Marie-Antoinette.
Situated in a famous place on Paris’s Place de la Concorde, near the renowned Champs-Élysées and the Tuileries, the remarkable Hôtel de la Marine complex now welcomes visitors as a design museum. The museum offers a dazzling view into the decorative arts of 18th-century France.
Dating back to the 1700s, the original structure, known as the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, stored the king’s furniture, rugs, and jewels and the institution’s intendant, Pierre-Elisabeth de Fontanieu.
During the French Revolution and up to 2015, the place was France’s navy ministry headquarters. The Hôtel de la Marine is an architectural treasure in the heart of Paris, with an unbelievable view of the Place de la Concorde.
This monument was the first museum in Paris. Representative of the French art de Vivre. It was essential to protect it for future generations to account for France’s technical know-how. Stone cutting, gilding, trimmings, carpentry and cabinetry, chandeliers, sculptures, and paintings.
Following the navy’s departure in 2015, the location was passed to Centre des Monuments Nationaux. The mission is to preserve, restore, and maintain approximately 100 national monuments, including the legendary Arc de Triomphe, Villa Kérylos, and Sainte Chapelle.
Two years later, the organization kicked off the massive restoration of the building, starting with the architecturally significant façade before moving into the courtyards and apartments.
There were many incredible discoveries made during the restoration. In the intendant’s apartments, they have discovered up to 18 coats of paint on the woodwork. Fortunately, we have been able to reveal them after careful work.
They were also able to restore the Golden Cabinet, which had become a fully stainless steel kitchen during the occupation of the French navy’s operations headquarters in this palace. In addition, two fireplaces were discovered in this room’s formwork and the original woodwork.
Visitors to the Hôtel de la Marine can take an audio-guided tour of the spaces, restored to their 18th- and 19th-century splendor, using the Confidant, an innovative interactive headset.
While the architecture itself is spectacular, the Hôtel de la Marine is filled with several treasures. Teams worked with some leading institutions, including the Louvre Museum, the Musée des Arts décoratifs, and the Palace of Versailles national museum, to locate pieces initially held at the Garde-Meuble.
Decorators and 18th-century specialists Michel Charrière and Joseph Achkar searched auction houses, flea markets, galleries, and other sales. The objective was to find period-correct pieces to restore these spaces as faithfully as possible for the public.
“The feat of the Hôtel de la Marine teams has been to restore this palace to an almost original state,” says Bouraly. “We succeeded in replacing in the Golden Room the fall-front desk and a mechanical table. These two pieces had not been found in the same room since the Revolution when they were sold separately.”
Work on the structure is ongoing, with two restaurants opening their doors, including Café Lapérouse, a fine-dining destination, and a wine cellar and chocolatier designed by Cordelia de Castellane.
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