Marine Hotel, Paris

The Hôtel de la Marine in Paris is part of an architectural ensemble built in honor of Louis XV and completed in 1775 on the square renamed Place de la Concorde in 1795. This complex is the work of Ange-Jacques Gabriel (1698-1792) First architect of the King. It was intended to house the Garde Meuble de la Couronne under the direction of Pierre Elisabeth de Fontanieu (1731-1784) and then Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville-d’Avray (1732-1792). Liquidated by the revolution on May 20, 1798, the Garde Meuble was recreated in 1800 in another location by the Consulate.

The renovated apartments of the two administrators are open to the public and can be visited with the help of audio guides. They retrace the history of this building from its function as a Garde Meuble to that of housing the Ministry of the Navy in 1798. It was finally used as the headquarters of the Navy until 2015.

On the paneling of the Admirals’ lounge, ten portraits of our great sailors are painted, including, of course, Lapérouse:

La Touche Tréville1745-1804
Du Couëdic1740-1780
Jean Bart1650-1702

On a large circular glass table, there are descriptions of the voyages of several great navigators and explorers, including Lapérouse. Their consultation is done thanks to an interactive system.

The visit allows to discover the desk on which the decree relating to the abolition of slavery was written and finalized by Victor Schoelcher, then Under-Secretary of State for the Navy and appointed president of the commission for the abolition of slavery by François Arago (1786-1853) astronomer and physicist, then Minister of War, Navy and Colonies of the Provisional Government.

The colonnade and the reception rooms underwent a major restoration from 2007 to 2009, thanks to the sponsorship of the Bouygues group. Today, from this sumptuous setting, one can admire the Salle du Serment du Jeu de Paume, the Tuileries gardens and the Place de la Concorde.

It is from this colonnade that Robespierre would have attended the execution of Louis XVI on the scaffold, from which, according to legend, the King would have asked for news from Lapérouse!

Numerous books for sale at the store deal with voyages, cartography over the centuries, the abolition of slavery and many other topics related to the navy.

After the visit, one can enjoy a coffee, called “Café Lapérouse”, which was opened in the main courtyard by the famous institution of 51 quai des Grands Augustins in Paris. But what exactly is the link between this prestigious establishment and Jean-François de Lapérouse? An article entitled “Quand un Lapérouse en cache un autre” (When one Lapérouse hides another) published by the Historical Society of the VIth arrondissement sheds light on this subject. Not to be missed!

The Hotel de la Marine in Paris… A visit worth the detour!

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