Hôtel de La Marine

Located along the northeastern perimeter of the Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel de la Marine has a long and storied history, having originally served as a repository for the royal family’s furniture before operating for two centuries as offices of the French navy. Today the Hôtel de la Marine has been restored to how it appeared at the end of the eighteenth century, and its many ornate rooms are full of lavish decorations, priceless artifacts, and numerous striking period pieces.

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History of the Hôtel de la Marine

Construction began on what would become the Hôtel de la Marine in 1758, as part of an elaborate plan to honor King Louis XV with a new square (what would become Place de la Concorde). When ground broke on this project, the future purpose of the building itself was yet undetermined. In 1765, though, it was decided that this lovely site would become the royal Garde-Meuble: the organization tasked with storing, maintaining, and overseeing the King of France’s furniture.

The Hôtel de la Marine would play a remarkable role in the French Revolution, as to this day it’s said that the first shots fired at the Bastille in July of 1789 were launched from cannons stationed here. In the wake of the French Revolution, the Hôtel de la Marine would become a headquarters of the Ministry of the Navy (this time period is when it actually acquired its name, Hôtel de la Marine), and the Navy would operate out of offices on this site until 2015. Between 2015 and 2021 the entire property was renovated and restored before reopening to the public in its current form as a museum.

Hôtel de la Marine Highlights

The biggest highlight of a visit to the Hôtel de la Marine is the chance to explore this historic structure in all its multifaceted glory. The Hôtel de la Marine has been extensively restored over the course of the past decade, and today its various state rooms, salons, and loggias are marvels of eighteenth-century architecture and interior design. From gilded wall decorations to massive fireplaces, exquisite chandeliers to ornamental ceilings, the Hôtel de la Marine is a sight to behold.

The Hôtel de la Marine also contains an impressive collection of artifacts spanning the past 250 years of French history: furniture, paintings, sculptures, and a whole lot more combine to tell the story of three centuries of French royal life. Some of these objects are original to the site, while others are on loan from other museums.

Throughout any given year, the Hôtel de la Marine typically features two different temporary exhibitions worth seeing. By definition, these exhibitions change on a regular basis, but for context two recent shows staged here were Ca’ d’Oro: Masterpieces of the Renaissance in Venice, which brought over 70 treasures from the iconic Venetian palazzo’s Franchetti Gallery to Paris for six months; and Medieval Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum: When the English Spoke French, a curated selection of sculptures, paintings, textiles, ceramics, and more drawn from the London institution.

More to See and Do at the Hôtel de la Marine

The Hôtel de la Marine is a distinctive attraction with a diverse assortment of things to see and do while visiting. Keep reading to learn more.

•The Hôtel de la Marine periodically sponsors a number of special workshops, activities, and unique guided tours. For more information on the sort of event that might be taking place here when you’re scheduled to visit, check out the Hôtel de la Marine’s official website in advance of your trip.

•To get even more out of your visit to Hôtel de la Marine, access the attraction’s free app on your smartphone. This complimentary service comes fully loaded with exclusive content about several of the Hôtel de la Marine’s most famous rooms.

•Visitors looking for a stylish souvenir, gorgeous art print, or history book will want to make time to stop in at the Hôtel de la Marine shop. This charming boutique specializes in reproductions of famous artworks, home-décor items, and keepsake exhibition catalogs.

•Hôtel de la Marine is the home of celebrity chef Jean-François Piège’s newest restaurant, Mimosa. This high-end establishment bills itself as bringing the spirit of the French Riviera to the heart of Paris, and in addition to its elaborate menu features stunning interior design by Dorothée Delaye.

•Hôtel de la Marine is also where visitors will find Café Lapérouse. Café Lapérouse is the first-ever spinoff restaurant from the people responsible today for maintaining the legacy of the legendary Lapérouse, the 250-year-old restaurant where iconic writers like Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Émile Zola once dined. Café Lapérouse has an interior designed by Dior, multiple unique dining spaces where guests can enjoy an unforgettable meal, and a burgeoning reputation as one of the city’s most chic spots.

Why the Hôtel de la Marine Should Be on Your Must-See List

The Hôtel de la Marine may be one of the newest big-name attractions in Paris, but it comes on the scene with quite the pedigree: this historic site’s lavish interior spaces have been called the closest thing around to Versailles, and is considered by many to be one of the best examples of its style of architecture found anywhere in the city. And once you’ve finished exploring its many elegant rooms, you’ll be just a short walk from other major Paris attractions like the Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée d’Orsay, and the Louvre.