Fodor's Expert Review Hôtel de la Marine

Around the Louvre Family Fodor's Choice

This splendid museum is the closest you'll get to Versailles in Paris. It took more than 200 skilled artisans and nearly $160 million to achieve what is hands down Paris’s most ravishing museum to date, allowing the public a glimpse behind the elegant facade of a masterpiece of French 18th-century interior design for the first time in 250 years. No detail was overlooked in the restoration: wallpaper and curtains were painted or sewed by hand in the original 18th-century techniques; the woodwork was painstakingly stripped, restored, and gilded by master craftspeople; and decorative features were created in Paris’s most rarified workshops. 

The mansion is one of two twin structures built in 1758 for Louis XV to mark a new square created in his honor (now Place de la Concorde). Both buildings sat unused before the eastern facade—now the Hôtel de Crillon—was auctioned off to the Duc d’Aumont. The western edifice became the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, the institution in... READ MORE

This splendid museum is the closest you'll get to Versailles in Paris. It took more than 200 skilled artisans and nearly $160 million to achieve what is hands down Paris’s most ravishing museum to date, allowing the public a glimpse behind the elegant facade of a masterpiece of French 18th-century interior design for the first time in 250 years. No detail was overlooked in the restoration: wallpaper and curtains were painted or sewed by hand in the original 18th-century techniques; the woodwork was painstakingly stripped, restored, and gilded by master craftspeople; and decorative features were created in Paris’s most rarified workshops. 

The mansion is one of two twin structures built in 1758 for Louis XV to mark a new square created in his honor (now Place de la Concorde). Both buildings sat unused before the eastern facade—now the Hôtel de Crillon—was auctioned off to the Duc d’Aumont. The western edifice became the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, the institution in charge of selecting, maintaining, and storing the king’s furniture. In 1789 it became the headquarters for the navy ministry, which remained in the building for 226 years. The decrees ending slavery and the slave trade in France were signed here in 1794. Visitors can learn about the building's history through state-of-the-art interactive displays in the grand ballroom and loggia, a sprawling balcony facing Place de la Concorde with impressive views of the Assemblée Nationale and the Eiffel Tower. You can take a guided visit (in English) or grab a state-of-the-art headset; well worth it to discover the museum's fascinating history.

The museum also houses the exquisite Al Thani collection, featuring objects and artwork spanning 6,000 years and myriad civilizations. Another great pleasure of your visit is lunch, teatime, or a cocktail at the romantic Café Lapérouse (the first offshoot of the historic Paris restaurant) or Mimosa, across the courtyard, helmed by chef Jean-François Piège, one of Paris's star chefs. Both restaurants offer sumptuous interiors and outdoor dining in the interior courtyard or under the pillars overlooking Place de la Concorde.

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Quick Facts

2 Place de la Concorde
Paris, Île-de-France  75008, France

No phone

www.hotel-de-la-marine.paris/en

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, guided tours from €13

What’s Nearby