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Hotel Meurice

Hotel Meurice

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Le Meurice is a 5-star hotel in Paris, located opposite the Tuileries Garden
Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was first opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the...

, between Place de la Concorde
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde in area, it is the largest square in the French capital. It is located in the city's eighth arrondissement, at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées.- History :...

 and the Musée du Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

. This hotel is owned and managed by the Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection is a luxury hotel operator owned by the Brunei Investment Agency , an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. Dorchester Collection owns and manages 9 luxury five star hotels, The Dorchester, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Plaza Athénée, Hotel Meurice, Principe di Savoia, Hotel...



After an extensive two-year renovation, completed in 2000, Le Meurice was restored. Today it is part of the Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection
Dorchester Collection is a luxury hotel operator owned by the Brunei Investment Agency , an arm of the Ministry of Finance of Brunei. Dorchester Collection owns and manages 9 luxury five star hotels, The Dorchester, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Plaza Athénée, Hotel Meurice, Principe di Savoia, Hotel...

 Hotels (owned by the Brunei Investment Agency), which includes The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane in London, Coworth Park in Ascot, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Plaza Athénée
The Plaza Athénée is a hotel in Paris, France. It is located at 25 Avenue Montaigne, near the Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower. It is part of the Dorchester Collection group of international luxury hotels....

 in Paris and the Principe di Savoia in Milan.

In 2007, Le Meurice began its latest revamping under Philippe Starck
Philippe Starck
Philippe Patrick Starck is a French product designer and probably the best known designer in the New Design style...

 and Franka Holtmann, General Manager.

History


Le Meurice has been around for over two centuries, and its current clientele as well as its historical patrons speak for its significance in Paris. The history of the hotel begins in 1771 in Calais, where upper-class British travellers on their way to Paris would arrive after crossing the Straits of Dover. There, an enterprising regional postmaster, Charles-Augustin Meurice (1739–1820), welcomed them to French shores, putting them up in his Calais coaching inn and arranging rides to Paris aboard his coach service. It was a 36-hour trip, and Meurice built a second coaching inn in Paris in 1817. Le Meurice moved in 1835 to its present site, overlooking the Tuileries Garden
Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was first opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the...

.

Because so many British travellers stayed at Le Meurice, (where all the staff spoke English), the hotel was nicknamed 'City of London'. English author William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.-Biography:...

 once wrote, "If you don't speak a word of French, if you like English comfort, clean rooms, breakfast and maîtres d'hôtel; if in a foreign land, you want your fellow countrymen around you, your brown beer, your friend and your cognac - and your water - do not listen to any of the messengers but with your best British accent cry heartily: 'Meurice!' and immediately, someone will come forward to drive you straight to the rue de Rivoli."

A limited liability company named Hôtel Meurice was formed in 1898 to own and operate the hotel. Arthur Millon, who headed the new company, and his director, Mr Schwenter, responded to the expectations by undertaking a major renovation of the property in 1905.

The extensive two-year renovation and enlargement gave the property its modern-day appearance and amenities such as private baths.

During the renovation, the workers took in a stray dog, a greyhound. It was adopted by the hotel's personnel and thus became its mascot. A second greyhound was added to accompany the first, forming the emblem of Le Meurice that is still the symbol throughout the hotel today.

During World War I, the hotel closed for several months, and it served for a time as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

During the Second world war, Le Meurice housed German military command as well as the commanding governor Dietrich von Choltitz
Dietrich von Choltitz
General der Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz was the German military governor of Paris during the closing days of the German occupation of that city during World War II...

 - a nazi official famous in popular culture for having decided to ignore Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's- order to firebomb Paris as depicted in the movie "Is Paris Burning".

Patrons


One of the hotel's most outrageous guests was the surrealist painter Salvador Dali
Salvador Dalí
Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

, who spent at least one month per year at Le Meurice. His behaviour could also be surrealistic.

Artists, writers, and musicians who have stayed at Le Meurice include Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico was a pre-Surrealist and then Surrealist Italian painter born in Volos, Greece, to a Genovese mother and a Sicilian father. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement...

, Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

, Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann
Walter Lippmann was an American intellectual, writer, reporter, and political commentator famous for being among the first to introduce the concept of Cold War...

, Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin
Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, OM, KBE was a Russian Jewish American violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in the United Kingdom. He was born to Russian Jewish parents in the United States, but became a citizen of Switzerland in 1970, and of the United Kingdom in 1985...

, Liza Minnelli
Liza Minnelli
Liza May Minnelli is an American actress and singer. She is the daughter of singer and actress Judy Garland and film director Vincente Minnelli....

, Seiji Ozawa
Seiji Ozawa
is a Japanese conductor, particularly noted for his interpretations of large-scale late Romantic works. He is most known for his work as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and principal conductor of the Vienna State Opera.-Early years:...

, Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter is a German violinist.- Early life :Mutter was born in Rheinfelden, Germany. She began playing the piano at age five, and shortly afterwards took up the violin, studying with Erna Honigberger, a pupil of Carl Flesch...

 and Placido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo KBE , born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range...

. Past guests also include film stars and directors such as Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli
Franco Zeffirelli KBE is an Italian director and producer of films and television. He is also a director and designer of operas and a former senator for the Italian center-right Forza Italia party....

, Fernandel
Fernandel
Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin , better known as Fernandel, was a French actor and singer. Born in Marseille, France, he was a comedy star who first gained popularity in French vaudeville, operettas, and music-hall revues...

, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, Ginger Rogers, Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor of stage and film. He was best known for his portrayal of Mongkut, king of Siam, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film version; he also played the role more than 4,500 times on...

, Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

 and Richard Burton
Richard Burton
Richard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...

. The Brazilian Beauty Symbol Aimee de Heeren also stayed at the hotel. Le Meurice's has also been a setting for several films, including Mata Hari and Julia, directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

. The superstar Beyoncé always stays at Le Meurice when she comes to visit Paris.

External links