Hôtel de la Marine, Paris

The hôtel de la Marine (also known as the hôtel du Garde-Meuble) is an historic building located on Place de la Concorde in Paris, to the east of rue Royale. It was designed and built between 1757 and 1774 by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, on the newly created square first called Place Louis XV. The identical building to its west, constructed at the same time, now houses the hôtel de Crillon and the Automobile Club of France.

The hôtel de la Marine was originally the home of the royal Garde-Mobile, the office managing the furnishing of all royal properties. Following the French Revolution it became the Ministry of the French Navy, which occupied it until 2015. It was entirely renovated between 2015 and 2021. It now displays the restored 18th century apartments of Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville-d’Avray, the King’s Intendant of the Garde-Meuble, as well the salons and chambers later used by the French Navy.

Major historical events have taken place in the hôtel de la Marine:

  • On 16 September 1792, the Crown Jewels were stolen at the Hôtel de la Marine. At night, around forty people got inside the reception room where the jewels were displayed and stole goods worth around 30 million French francs. Most of the jewels were found again two years later. However, The French Blue (Le bleu de France) was not recovered. It reappeared 20 years later in England, completely recut with the largest section of the diamond appearing under the Hope name in an 1839 gem catalog from the Hope banking family. The Hope Diamond is now in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • In a room overlooking Place de la Concorde Marie Antoinette’s death warrant was signed. She was guillotined on 16 October 1793 on Place de la Concorde. She was 37 years old.
  • On 27 April 1848, in the office of minister François Arago in the Hôtel de la Marine, the decree to abolish slavery in the French colonies was signed in Paris. Victor Schœlcher, an ardent defender of human rights, was the man behind this historic decision.

The renovation is beautiful. The views of Paris monuments are exceptional. It was a memorable visit.

La grande Loggia de l’Hôtel de la Marine, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2022

You can see more of the photos I made of the hôtel de la Marine here, including extraordinary time pieces and a modern skylight.

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