L'hôtel de Brienne

L'hôtel de Brienne vue des jardins. ©SGA/DMPA - J. Robert

Built in the 18th century, the Hôtel de Brienne had several owners before it was purchased by the State in 1817. Today it is home to the Ministry of Defence.

Built in the 18th century, the Hôtel de Brienne had several owners before it was purchased by the State in 1817. Today it is home to the Ministry of Defence. In 1725 a reputable businessman called François Duret bought some land, which is now situated between rue Saint-Dominique and rue de l'Université, on behalf of the Marquess of Prie, the mistress of the Duke of Bourbon, who wanted to have a large mansion house built there. After the Duke of Bourbon was disgraced in 1726, the Marquess of Prie gave up the idea of living in the hôtel that was under construction and it was then sold to Françoise de Mailly, the widow of the marquis of La Vrillière. In 1733 she sold the building to Louise-Elisabeth of Bourbon, princess of Conti, who had some major changes made to the interior decoration under the supervision of the architect Simonnet. Just before her death in 1775, the princess of Conti donated the hôtel to her grandson, Louis-François-Joseph of Bourbon, the Count of La Marche. He then sold it the following year to Louis-Marie-Athanase of Loménie, the Count of Brienne, who was named Secretary of State for War in 1787. L'hôtel de Conti thus took the name of the Hôtel de Brienne, which it retains to this day and was home for the first time in its history to a minister of war.

The day after the death of the Count of Brienne, guillotined in May 1794, the building was confiscated by the revolutionary administration, who installed the commission for commerce and provisions there. Returned to the Countess of Brienne in 1795, the hôtel was sold in 1798 to the wife of François Séguy, a general businessman in military subsistence, who had a lot of refurbishment work carried out under the supervision of the architect Lavoyepierre. The Séguys were to fall victim to financial difficulties and soon had to be parted from their new acquisition. In 1800, the hôtel was sold at auction by the civil court of first instance in the Seine département to Joseph Lanfrey, an employee at the office of military subsistence, who rented it to the then interior minister, Lucien Bonaparte. In 1802, Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, bought it and rearranged the interior of the building and the furniture, before reselling it in 1805 to his mother, Laetizia Bonaparte, née Ramolino. The building thus became "the Palace of Madame Bonaparte, the Mother of the Emperor". Bought back from Madame Bonaparte by the State in 1817, the Hôtel de Brienne from then onwards became the customary residence of the Minister for War. Because of this, the building has been witness to some great political events. It was here that Clémenceau organised the victory in 1917. It was also here that General de Gaulle had his headquarters, first of all as Secretary of State for War in June 1940 and then as head of the temporary government from the 25th August 1944 until the 26th January 1946. This site is not open to the public, except on Heritage Days.
This historic monument, allocated to the Ministry of Defence, comes under the umbrella of a Defence and Culture protocol signed on the 17th September 2005. Click here to see the list of other buildings ...
Ministry of Defence General Secretary for Administration Department of Remembrance, Heritage and Archives Office of cultural and museographic activities 14 rue Saint-Dominique 00450 Armées E-mail: dmpa-sdace-bacm@sga.defense.gouv.fr

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