The Hôtel de la Marine reopened its doors on Saturday, June 12, to the delight of visitors eager to discover the splendors and secrets of this palace, which is both familiar and mysterious in the heart of Paris and which has not been accessible to the public since 1789!
Four years of work were necessary to restore this emblematic building on the Place de la Concorde to its status as a jewel of Parisian heritage: Loc'Hall is very proud to welcome the Hôtel de la Marine to its unique selection of venues exceptional venues open to professional events.
From the Garde Meuble de la Couronne to the Hôtel de la Marine: 250 years of history
The history of the Hôtel de la Marine is inseparable from that of the Place de la Concorde.
In the middle of the 18th century, when the City of Paris planned to build a statue in honor of Louis XV, a whole square was created in honor of the king, modeled on the other royal squares, Place Vendôme and Place des Vosges.
Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the King's First Architect (who also designed the Ecole Militaire, the Petit Trianon, the Royal Chapel in Versailles and the Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux) was appointed to create the final plans for the future Place Louis XV. To the south, the square is entirely open to the Seine, to the north Ange-Jacques Gabriel integrates two twin palaces separated by the rue Royale. These monumental palaces have all the characteristics of 18th century French architecture: rigorous geometric layout, perfect mastery of symmetry, references to Antiquity.
The palace on the left became a private residence (today it houses the Hôtel de Crillon, the Automobile Club de France and the Hôtel de Coislin) while the palace on the right was assigned in 1772 to the Garde Meuble de la Couronne, an institution in charge of furnishing the royal residences, the choice, purchase and maintenance of the king's furniture, but also the conservation of the royal collections of arms and armor, fabrics and hangings, vases of hard stones, bronzes and finally the jewels of the Crown.
The institution is administered by an officer of the King's Household, the Royal Intendant, who is housed in luxurious apartments and lives a lavish lifestyle.
In 1777, the galleries of the Garde Meuble Royal were opened to the public every first Tuesday of the month. Visitors could go to the Place Louis XV to admire Japanese armor from the Middle Ages, the armor of Henri II, or the sword of François I. The Garde Meuble Royal is in a way the first museum of decorative art!
In 1789, the Revolution sounded the end of this symbol of the monarchy: the guillotine was installed on the Place Louis XV which became the Place de la Révolution - it became the Place de la Concorde under the Directory - the ministers based in Versailles were ordered to return to Paris and the Ministry of the Navy moved into the former Garde Meuble Royal which became the Hôtel de la Marine;
For more than two centuries, it was within its walls that the most important decisions of the French Navy were taken, regardless of the era and the political regime. Of course, the palace underwent transformations in order to adapt to the needs of the administration. Some rooms in the apartments became offices or reception rooms, but nothing was destroyed. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Hôtel de la Marine continued to host lavish receptions and brilliant parties.
As for the furniture and objets d'art, some of them were sold at auction or burned during the Revolution. In 1800, the institution was recreated and became the Garde-Meuble des Consuls and then the Mobilier Impérial. It finally became the Mobilier national in 1870 and is still in charge of the furniture of various national institutions such as the Elysée. Its headquarters is now located at the Manufacture des Gobelins in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
An exceptional project and a return to the roots
In 2015, the Ministry of the Navy left the Place de la Concorde to join the new site of the Ministry of Defense in the south of Paris. The Centre des Monuments Nationaux (CMN) was entrusted with the management of the monument and the implementation of restoration work with the aim of bringing visitors back to the time of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne when it was built in the 18th century.
Large-scale works are undertaken Starting at 2017. During these works, the teams of curators-restorers have the happy surprise of discovering the original wall decorations, ceilings or floors under the successive additions of the 19th and 20th centuries. By using period materials and techniques, by conducting a real treasure hunt to find the original furniture from the inventories of 1780, the CMN has succeeded in bringing the Intendant's apartments back to life and giving the impression that he had just left them.
12,700 m² of total surface area renovated, including 6,200 m² for the areas open to visitors, 130 M€ budget, more than 40 companies involved in the restoration, 4 years of work, the scale of the Hôtel de la Marine project was extraordinary for a breathtaking result!
The Hôtel de la Marine in 2021, a place of culture and a place to live!
Since June 12, the Hôtel de la Marine has opened its doors to visitors who had not had access to it for over two centuries. It now offers a unique experience to discover the heritage and art of living of the 18th century. The mode of mediation is innovative and plunges the visitor into the heart of the Age of Enlightenment. A 3D spatialized sound headset, the Confident, allows an immersive sound visit and brings to life the walls, the collections, the apartments and their occupants: a journey through time more real than real!
This unique place also has a restaurant, a café, a bookshop and 6,000m2 of coworking space. Endally, the building will host the headquarters of the Foundation for the Memory of Slavery (it was in the Hôtel de la Marine that the decree abolishing slavery in the French colonies was signed in l848) and will be enriched in the fall by the Al Thani Collection, one of the most prestigious private art collections in the world.
An unusual reception venue
The Hôtel de la Marine is a place of superlatives; organizing an event within its walls means sharing with your guests the quintessence of the French art of living and entertaining and the splendor of an extraordinary monument; above all, it is the certainty of putting stars in the eyes of anyone who has the privilege of attending!
- The Cour de l'Intendant offers a surface area of 333m2 and can accommodate 333 people for cocktails and 150 for dinners.
The impressive glass roof, designed by architect Hugh Dutton, draws its inspiration from the tassels of the magnificent 18th century chandeliers, as well as the geometry of the cut gems. Thanks to its unique shape, this glass roof, a true work of art, allows natural light to radiate like a chandelier or a diamond, via reflection and diffraction elements integrated into the structure. A technical feat that initiates a fruitful dialogue between the 18th century and the 21st century.
- A perfect setting for all the prestigious events organized by the State or the Ministers of the Navy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the loggia and the state rooms (612m2) can accommodate 300 people for cocktails and 150 for dinners.
The former furniture gallery became in 1843, at the request of the then Minister of the Navy, a reception room and a large dining room. The decoration of these rooms is grandiose: white panels highlight the carved and gilded wooden decorations. The fireplaces on either side of the ensemble are surmounted by mirrors where the chandeliers and gilding on the ceiling are reflected.
Overlooking the Place de la Concorde, the loggia has always been at the forefront of history, between the execution of Louis XVI in 1793 and the arrival of the obelisk in 1836. The masterly view it offers on the Place de la Concorde and the emblematic Parisian monuments will thrill the most jaded minds.