Private domain and symbol of the Empire style, the Beauharnais hotel, located rue de Lille in the 7th arrondissement of Paris is the current residence of the German Ambassador to France: Reinhard Schäfers. On the occasion of a private visit, Histoire pour tous retraces you in pictures, the history of the magnificent hotel and the various owners, including the famous Eugène de Beauharnais.
The Beauharnais hotel: why is it so called?
The hotel takes its name from the prince Eugene de Beauharnais who is 22 years old when he buys it in 1803 to undertake subsequent work. He is the third owner of the hotel after Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the nephew of the Grand Minister of Louis XIV and the Duke of Villeroy. He was a punctual resident after his campaigns during these brief returns to Paris. Noting the high cost of the renovation, Napoleon deprived him of the right of use and made the hotel an official residence for guests.
Eugène de Beauharnais (1781-1824) is the beautiful son of Napoleon because he is the child of Joséphine and Alexandre de Beauharnais. He began his career in 1797 as an aide-de-camp to Napoleon during the Italian campaign and then in Egypt. After the establishment of the Empire in 1804, it became Viceroy of Italy and in January 1806 married the daughter of the King of Bavaria. Until the birth of king of rome in 1811, Eugène de Beauharnais was the presumed heir of Napoleon. It is worth remembering that the King of Rome is the son of Napoleon and the Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria.
The history of the hotel and its first owners: towards the listed historic monument
The Hôtel de Beauharnais was built on the left bank of the Seine by the architect Germain boffrand in 1713. It will be sold in 1715 to Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Torcy then to the Duke of Villeroy around 1766. After his acquisition in 1803, Prince Eugène de Beauharnais had work carried out, in particular on the facade of the hotel. It is possible to see pNeo-Egyptian ortics, works of the architect Jean Augustin Renard. These porticoes bear witness to the enthusiasm of the time for Egyptian fashion, which was explained by Napoleon's campaign (1798-1799). Napoleon was accompanied by 167 scholars on the expedition to Egypt and returned with the Rosetta Stone.
On February 6, 1818, the hotel became for 570,000 francs the property of Prussia and Frederic-William II of Prussia who had it restored. Several personalities stayed at the hotel, such as Bismarck, the composer Richard Wagner and the mother of William II. It was in 1871 with the birth of the German Empire that the hotel became the seat of its embassy. It was taken over by the French state at the end of the Second World War and returned in 1961. Hôtel de Beauharnais is classified historical monument since July 25, 1951.
Empire style: a sumptuous interior
The Empire style is defined by massive and imposing furniture and by a predominance of mahogany furniture decorated with bronze. The imitation of antiquity is another characteristic, the carved bronze ornaments are inspired by the Greek-Roman or Egyptian style. The most significant artists are Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine because they are considered to be the creators of this style. The Beauharnais hotel is a beautifully restored symbol of the Empire style. Note that the residence contains most of the original furniture from the Eugene period.
When you enter through the Egyptian porticoes, the Hôtel de Beauharnais reveals on the ground floor a magnificent library, the work of cabinetmaker Jacob Desmalter, as well as on the left, the green living room with the landscapes by Hubert Robert and a green marble fireplace. A little further on is the dining room with paintings by Mamluks.
It is after having climbed the main staircase that we see, on the first floor, the throne room, the pink room or the four seasons room on the Pompeian style representing muses. The Napoleonic symbols are present throughout the figure of the eagle and the bees. On the same floor are the apartments of the queen hortense, Queen of Holland and sister of Eugène de Beauharnais. The apartments consist of a magnificent bedroom containing the parade bed, a music room, an oriental boudoir and a marble bathroom.
Useful information :
Beauharnais Hotel: 78, rue de Lille 75007 Paris, France
Historic monument since July 25, 1951
Access on demand
- Website of the German Embassy
- Website of the Fondation Napoléon