Hôtel de la Marine. ©MER ET MARINE - VINCENT GROIZELEAU
Built in the 18th century, and part of the French Navy's High Command headquarters today.
The neoclassical building housing the Navy Halls (Hôtel de la Marine) stands behind one of the two monumental colonnades facing Place de la Concorde on either side of Rue Royale. These two colonnades were inspired by the ones that Claude Perrault, an architect, designed for the Louvre Palace's eastern range. The vaulted gallery on the ground floor holds up twelve columns with Corinthian capitals, which frame the central loggia. The pavilions on either corner feature four Corinthian columns supporting pediments decorated by Sebastien Slodtz and Nicolas Coustou, two sculptors. Balustrades connect the two pediments.
This building was designed around the main courtyard (called the Cour d'Estienne d'Orves). A hall across this courtyard leads to the Grand Degré staircase leading up to the halls and galleries on the first floor. The Navy Halls (Hôtel de la Marine) was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, King Louis XV's chief architect. and built between 1757 and 1774. It was part of much vaster plans to develop the "Fondrière" area (Place de la Concorde today) around a statue of Louis XV. The building was originally used to store royal palace furniture. It was later used as a museum where the public could see the royal quarters' finest (and carefully-kept and restored) furniture, tapestry, light fittings and decorations. That is why the Navy Halls looked more like a museum than what we would imagine when we think of a furniture warehouse today. As an aside, a number of pieces were stolen in 1792. The Navy Ministry moved to this building in 1789 and the Navy's High Command have used it as part it its headquarters since (despite changing scope and name in step with France's evolving political and military history). Part of the French Navy's High Command is headquartered in the Navy Halls. This building has been entrusted to the Ministry of Defence. France's Defence and Culture ministries signed an agreement to restore it, on 17 September 2005.
Navy Halls (Hôtel de la Marine) Place de la Concorde Cultural and Museum Initiative Authority (Bureau des actions culturelles et muséographiques) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Place de la Concorde 75008