Marked by its famous residents such as Voltaire, Chopin, the Rotschild family, Baron de Rede, Mona von Bismarck, and many others, l’Hôtel Lambert today represents one of the most exclusive properties in Paris which is also a showcase of the French taste.
L’Hôtel Lambert was constructed on the Île-St-Louis in 1642 by Louis Le Veau, who later also designed a part of the Versailles palace. Its first owner was Jean-Baptiste Lambert, the adviser and the secretary of the King Louis XIII. The word “hôtel” refers to “hôtel particulier”, which in French context stands for an urban “private house” of a grand sort.
During its long history many owners changed, and each of them left his/her own mark in terms of decoration. One of the owners in the 18th century was Florent Claude, the Marquis du Châtelet, whose the wife happened to be Voltaire’s mistress therefore making Voltaire one of the residents of this magnificent estate. In 1842 it became the “capital of Polish province” as princess Czartoryska moved in and brought in the elements of her culture. A Polish language library was founded in a wing of the house, and several grand balls were hosted for which Chopin notably composed his “Polonaises”.
During the second half of 20th century, Baron de Rede, aristocratic aesthete and socialite, opened the doors of l’hôtel Lambert to crème de la crème of world’s jet set and nobility during his famous parties. His Bal oriental (1969) attracted not just international high society but also American Vogue, which published the pictures of the event. Few years after that, new owners took over the place – Baron Guy de Rotschild and his wife Marie-Helene – however, they continued renting the ground floor to Baron de Rede, good friend of Marie-Helene.
The decision of Guy de Rotschild to sell his home surprised many, and perhaps even shocked some to see this estate becoming home to Qatari Prince Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani who bought it for between 60 and 80 millions euros in 2007, according to French media. Many controversies were raised by prince’s plan to build a parking lot and a car lift beneath the paved courtyard, but luckily, he gave up the plan and instead opted for restoration work on the celebrated “Gallery of Hercules” by Charles Le Brun, the same artist who painted the spectacular Galerie des Glaces at the Palace of Versailles.
Miroslav Vuckovic, a French-Lifestyle’s friend passionate about French Art and History.
Sources: Michel Gallet, Les architectes parisiens du XVIIIe siècle, Paris