Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hotel de Crillon

Executive summary by Darmansjah

The Hôtel de Crillon in Paris is a historic luxury hotel opened in 1909 in a building dating to 1758. The hotel is located at the foot of the Champs-Élysées and is one of two identical stone palaces on the Place de la Concorde. The Crillon has 103 guest rooms and 44 suites. It also has three restaurants, a bar, outdoor terrace, gym and health club on the premises. It is closed for renovation until 2015.

The building that is now the Crillon was constructed in 1758 after King Louis XV commissioned the architect Jaques-Ange Gabriel to build two palaces in what would become the Place de Concorde. The two identical buildings, separated by the rue Royale, were initially designed to be government offices of the French state. The eastern building remains to this day the headquarters of the French Navy, the Royale. The northern building that would become the Crillon was first occupied by Louis Marie Augustin, Duke of Aurmont, a famous patron of the French Arts. The building was further enhanced by its second owner, the architect Louis-François Trouard, who had the Salon de Aigles built in 1775.

On 6 February 1778, the building was used as the venue for the official signing of the first treaties between the newly founded United States and France. Americans Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane and Arthur Lee met French diplomat Conrad Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval to conclude the French-American treaty that recognised the Declaration of Independence of the United States and a trade agreement.

In 1788 the Count of Crillon, François-Félix-Dorothee Berton des Balbes, acquired the building for his home. But it was confiscated shortly thereafter by the government of the French Revolution in 1791. Two years later King Louis XVI was guillotined in the Place de la Concorde directly in front of the building in 1793.

Eventually the building was returned to its owner whose descendants lived there for more than a century. In 1907, the Société du Louvre purchased the property and transformed it into a hotel. The building then underwent a two-year refurbishment under the supervision of noted architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur. Two neighbouring buildings on the rue Boissy d'Anglas were purchased to enlarge the property. The new Hotel Crillon opened on 12 March 1909.

The hotel housed members of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference after World War I, including President Wilson’s key advisor Edward House.

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