Book Review: Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of the Ambassadors

Historic Houses of ParisHistoric Houses of Paris, written by Alain Stella and photographed by Francis Hammond, is one book that you need to have in your library.  The book is packed from front to back with numerous tours of extraordinary historical homes that are  closed to the public but opened up in this exceptional volume of twenty-two embassies.

You’ll browse a number of estates that were once distinguished upscale homes, which now act specifically as the temporary residences of prestigious French ambassadors.  Since these ambassadors come from around the world, the interiors reflect their country’s distinct cultural history and aesthetic accents, but one cannot ignore the underlining French architectural and detail that can only be seen in  interiors fit for the nobility.

Historic Houses of Paris gives us a very  unique glimpse inside a world of luxury, tradition, and splendor. From a seventeenth-century hôtel, to a Belle Epoque palace, to a distinctively contemporary setting, each residence is very special and shows a extraordinary collection of art, furniture set against marvelous architecture.

Alain Stella invites us over the threshold inside the most prestigious chancelleries and ambassador residences in Paris—from China and Peru to Egypt and Poland. Tapestries inspired by Goya’s drawings grace the lavish salons at the Spanish residence. Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand created a minimalist interior at the Japanese residence that evokes the refined style of a traditional Japanese home. The palace of Eugène de Beauharnais—home to the German ambassadors since 1818—retains its elaborate Empire style, intact since the time of Josephine. Superb photographs, specially commissioned for this book over the course of a year, divulge the secrets of these previously unpublished artistic and architectural treasures.

Beautiful photographs that capture the detail as well as the stunning overall impact of the magnificent public rooms in the amazing residences. ” PVLO Jane

A great addition to the library of anyone who is interested in the historical French architecture and decoration. ”

Perhaps one of the most lavish and beautiful books yet published on French architecture, interiors, gardens and history of truly some of the greatest hotels in Paris and all in color! Worth all of the asking price. It’s a very heavy book and weights and fills one’s lap for sure. It offers hours and hours of unlimited enjoyment as one returns over and over to peruse the beauty so magnificently photographed. The written portions regarding each residence are extremely well written and most informative giving the reader as much information as one would normally desire. It’s a glorious book that will be a keeper for sure for all those interested in French architecture, interiors, gardens and furnishings.” James B. Mckinney

One of the most beautiful book I ever seen! Superb quality and tasteful pictures! Each house has a unique history of its own, and being Paris, it’s not surprising that some of the persona who had grace these houses in the past left a mark in human history, such as Chopin, Wellington, and Bonaparte. The notes on each house are scholarly done and only adds to the worthiness of this priceless book. A great addition to the library of anyone who is interested in the historical French architecture and decoration. ” Squirllvr

Check out Melanie’s post for additional pictures………

Hotel de la Tour d’Auvergne (Republic of Chile)- With an entire interior designed by Pierre Adrien Pâris, the dining room has been listed as an historic building.

King Louis XV would often turn to this artist to devise festivals, ceremonies, and balls at court. Dating from the eighteenth century, the interior decor was taken from the hôtel belonging to the Crillon family and reinstalled in the residence in the early twentieth century.

Salon de L’Alcove, found in the 18th Century home of the Swiss Confederation ambassador.

Ambassador to the Netherlands Great Room- Partial view of the great room with Regency-period wood paneling dedicated to the art of music and with overdoors showing pastoral scenes ascribed to François Boucher (1703–1770), remounted in situ. Today, this hall, opening on to the garden, serves various purposes: concerts, seminars, conferences, and work meetings

Great Room Ambassador to the Netherlands Italian Republic

Hotel de Monaco (Republic of Poland) The Blue Room, a nineteenth-century creation inspired by the Versailles of Louis XIV, whose grandeur was in much vogue during Louis-Philippe’s reign. Detail of the decoration on the ceiling.

Hotel de Monaco (Republic of Poland) –A single-flight marble staircase built to the stipulations of the owner, the Dutch banker William Williams Hope. In 1841, the press was all abuzz with this “Croesus” moving into the “venerable” Faubourg Saint-Germain


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