In Paris, The Hôtel De La Marine Reopens To The Public
It is one of the cultural highlights of spring 2021: on June 12, the Hôtel de la Marine, located on Place de la Concorde in Paris, reopened its doors to the public, who had not had access to it for more than two centuries. In this magnificently renovated palace, the curious and the history buffs have the choice between two visit routes. We invite you to rediscover this architectural jewel in 5 questions.
1- When was it built?
The Hôtel de la Marine, an iconic monument on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, is a neoclassical palace.
It was built and fitted out between 1758 and 1774 by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Louis XV's first architect.
This imposing building first housed the prestigious Garde-meuble de la Couronne, an institution responsible for storing and restoring the furniture of the royal residences.
2- Why does it have this name?
If this famous monument on the Place de la Concorde is called the Hôtel de la Marine, it is because it was occupied from 1789 to 2015 by the Navy Staff.
The Ministry of the Navy, which moved in after the Revolution, transformed some rooms into state rooms in the 19th century.
The walls were then repainted, but without destroying anything of the original decoration. It was thus possible to renovate the apartments of the intendant of the Garde-meuble and to restore this monument to its 18th century glory.
3- What can you visit?
After 4 years of work carried out by the Centre des monuments nationaux (CMN), the Hôtel de la Marine has been restored to its 18th century splendour.
The restoration work focused on the Intendant's apartments and revealed the decorations dating from the Age of Enlightenment.
The rooms have also been fitted out with the furniture described in the inventories of the 1780's. Visiting this part of the palace, you will have the impression that the family of the Intendant of the Garde-meuble has just left the premises...
If you don't have time to take the full tour of the monument (the 'Grand Tour' which lasts 1h30), you can opt for a visit to the state rooms and the most beautiful view of Paris (the view of the Place de la Concorde from the loggia) in 45 minutes.
The Cour d'honneur of the palace is also open to visitors and will soon house a bookshop, a café and a restaurant.
4- Who occupies this monument today?
In addition to the parts open to visitors, this monument will house the headquarters of the Foundation for the Memory of Slavery.
It was indeed in this palace that Victor Schœlcher, then Under-Secretary of State for the Navy and the Colonies, signed the act of definitive abolition of slavery, in April 1848.
The other floors of the Hôtel de la Marine will be rented to companies. The prestigious palace will notably house a FIFA branch on the third floor!
But above all, a 400 square meter space has been leased for 20 years to the Al-Thani Foundation, which will exhibit works of art from the ruling family of Qatar there, starting in the fall of 2021.
Visitors who choose to take the full tour will be able to see works from one of the world's most prestigious private art collections.
5- How to organize your visit?
The Centre des monuments nationaux hopes to welcome some 600,000 visitors a year to the Hôtel de la Marine.
Two tour routes are offered at two different rates:
- €13 for the tour including the 19th-century ceremonial rooms and the loggia
- 17 € for the grand tour ticket which includes the Intendant's apartments and the Al-Thani collection.
Note that the tour is free for those under 26.
You can find opening times and all the relevant information on the Hôtel de la Marine website (link below).