fter four long years of renovations from top to bottom, one of the most famous hotels in Paris reopens its historic doors: Hotel Lutetia. The sole luxury hotel on the Parisian Rive Gauche, it was originally opened in 1910 by Bon Marché, the city's first department store that wanted to build a luxury residence (with air conditioning and hot water in every room!) near its emporium, worthy of its wealthy clientele. The Parisians from the Saint-Germain-les-Près neighbourhood fell in love with it from the very beginning and with them leading figures from the worlds of art, science and politics such as Joyce, Camus, Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, Hemingway, Matisse, Picasso, Josephine Baker and Charles de Galle, who during the last century often came to Paris, making it their favourite rendezvous.
Open for over one hundred years without there ever being a renovation, Lutetia has been closed for the first time in its history: upgrading to the new luxury hotel standards couldn’t be delayed any longer. The extensive renovation project that came to a staggering two hundred million Euros was designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the internationally renowned French architect who has a background in the conservation of the artistic and cultural heritage and who has overseen many prestigious restoration projects, from the rooms of the Louvre to those of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. To renew the spirit of the original project of the Hotel Lutetia without altering neither its charm nor its historic value, Jean-Michel Wilmotte started an illustrious collaboration: studio Perrot & Richard that has extensive experience in redeveloping historical buildings and Lema Contract, an Italian firm with great know-how that specialises in modular furniture and custom-made solutions.
The property was acquired in 2010 by Alrov, the Israeli group with a luxury portfolio that includes the Café Royal in London and the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam and one of its main objectives was to extend the bedrooms to improve their level of quality and comfort. The new Lutetia has nearly fifty rooms less than before and from the 12th July the first 175 rooms designed by Lema Contract will be ready for the lucky guests.
Personalised solutions have been developed for every room, they combine the stylistic requirements of Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s project with the technical constraints of the building’s historic structure. The fixed furniture, floors, ceilings, wooden cladding for the walls, doors, panelling and headboards fit to the last inch with the technical equipment, security system, air-conditioning and home automation system for a tailor-made solution that for four years required the efforts of 50 people such as technicians, draftsmen and managers from the Contract division by Lema.
The Lutetia as well as its guests have a long and fascinating history and the historic and sentimental value it has for Paris and the Parisians, but not exclusively them, is enormous. For Jean-Michel Wilmotte and his partners Perrot & Richard and Lema Contract it was a great challenge, met with top professionalism and expertise. The reopening, in time to celebrate the 14th July (the French national holiday), will be completed in autumn, when the beloved Brasserie Lutetia will be ready too. At the head, a three-star chef who hails from the Côte d’Azur, Gérard Passedat. To delight Parisians too with his famous bouillabaisse.
Renovation of a historic city hotel
Location: 45 Boulevard Raspail, Paris, France
Architectural and interior design project:
Wilmotte & Associés
68 rue du Faubourg St Antoine, Paris, France
Perrot & Richard, Architectes
60 rue Saint-André-des-Arts, Paris, France
Fixed furniture sourcing:
Lema S.P.A. Divisione Contract >> Channel Brand
Courtesy Lema Contract Division and Hotel Lutetia