Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Crillon Hotel to Auction 3,500 Items

Thirty five hundred lots of furniture, decorative items, lighting, fine wine and more from the legendary Parisian Hôtel Le Crillon will be auctioned off at the hotel April 18 to 21, following its closing on March 31st. The hotel will undergo a complete renovation and reopen in spring, 2015. 

A public exhibition of the auction items will be held April 12th to 16th. 

"This event will be the perfect synthesis between an ‘interiors’ sale and a ‘memorabilia’ sale, in which anyone will be able to own… a part of the dream of this unequalled Parisian palace,'' says François Tajan, co-president of Artcurial, the premier French auction house handling the sale. 

The luxurious five-star hotel was first constructed in 1758 after King Louis XV commissioned the architect Jaques-Ange Gabriel to build two palaces on in what would become the Place de la Concorde. The two identical buildings, separated by the rue Royale, were designed to be government offices. 

On February 6, 1778, the building was the venue for the official signing of the first treaties between France and the newly-founded United States. 

Ten years later, the Count of Crillon acquired the building and moved in. But it was confiscated shortly thereafter by the government of the French Revolution in 1791. Two years later King Louis XVI was guillotined in the Place de la Concorde, directly in front of the building. Eventually the building was returned to its owner whose descendants lived there for more than a century. In 1907, the Societe du Louvre purchased the property and transformed it into a hotel. The building underwent a two-year refurbishment and two neighboring buildings were added. The new Hotel de Crillon opened on March 12, 1909. 

The five-day sale will feature furniture, lighting, silver, porcelain, tapestries, trimmings….all of the decorative arts. Each piece will bear the name “Hotel de Crillon.’’ Certain pieces will be personalized by artists, couturiers and decorators, and will be sold to benefit charities. A selection of wines and spirits is also being auctioned. 

So what might you pick up? How about a bar created by César in 1982 (valued up to 12,000) or a Philippe Starck for Baccarat “Dark Super’’ console table from the restaurant Les Ambassadeurs  (15,000)?  Trop cher? Then perhaps a Christofle majogany and silver plate dessert trolley (3000 to 4000), a molded crystal and silver plated Lalique light fixture (3000 to 4000) or a large wood veneer, gilt bronze and marquetry Louis XVI-style desk from the lobby (300 to 400) would be just the thing.  There will also be silk curtains, linens with the Crillon crest, cast-iron garden furniture and much more. 

Tough luck if you had your eye some of those Baccarat chandeliers or the fountains from the conservatory of the Château de Versailles—they’re not for sale. 

Luc Delafosse, director of Crillon says the sale will “mark the beginning of the Crillon of tomorrow while continuing the magic of the myth.’’ 

The two-year renovation of the 147-room hotel will be led by three top interior decorators: Cyril Vergniol, Chahan Minassian and Tristan Auer, under the artistic direction of Aline d’Amman. The goal will be ‘’to enhance the noblesse and elegance of the site while conserving the atmosphere of an 18th century hôtel particulier, in which many salons and suites are classified Historical Monuments.” 

Who will actually run the Crillon when it reopens remains anyone’s guess. It's currently owned by a Saudi Prince, who bought it in 2010 for a reported 250 million. The French press reports that the Prince has been talking with the U.S. hotelier Rosewood about taking over the management; Rosewood was bought by the Chinese firm New World Hospitality Group in 2011. I read that Rosewood is currently favored over Sofitel, part of the French hotel giant Accor. The Crillon says no decision has been made. 

Here's all the auction info... 

The Viewing: Friday April 12 to Tuesday 16 April 2013, 10 am to 8 pm. Evening hours: Monday April 15 until 10 pm.  

The Auction: Thursday April 18, Friday 19, Saturday 20, Sunday 21 and Monday April 22, everyday at 10 am and 2:30 pm. 

The Catalog (€50) is available from catalogue@artcurial.com. You can browse it here. 

For more info: click here. 

Photos: The Crillon as it looks today...and a poster celebrating the opening in 1909. Among the items to be auctioned are a bar made by César and furniture from the lobby, terraces, Presidential (and other) suites, terraces, lobby and restaurant Les Ambassadeurs.

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  1. I have fond memories of the Crillon: having a drink in the bar, and attending a piano recital with a following cocktail party. I hope the renovation maintains the magnanimous aura of this hotel.

  2. OH how I wish I was rich enough to fly over and attend the auction, I can't imagine what luxury will be taken home by fortunate people

    are you attending?

  3. Hi Curtains! Unfortunately, I won't be attending but it sure sounds like fun...

  4. Hubby and I stayed at the Crillon years ago and it was fabulous. I think it's a bit sad that they're auctioning everything off pre-renovation. There goes all that beautiful, historical stuff that we mere mortals can only see in museums these days instead of eat with, sit in and be surrounded by. Maybe we'll shoot up the Paris and scoop something up.

  5. I was a speaker there for a Y2K conversion seminar early 1999. Amazing place. I wonder how it will look like after remodeling!

  6. I had the pleasure of staying at the Carillon years back when I worked for PAA. It is a distinctly stunning and elegant hotel; much of what one would expect and seek in European grace, beauty and elegance. Hope the new one can step into these very large shoes so to speak......!

  7. I have just found your lovely blog and feel quite sad to read that The Hotel de Crillon is being closed. I know the renovation is a wonderful idea but why can't they preserve the history, antiques and heritage of such a magnificent entity. I am a designer, decorator and I think they would marry beautifully with a fresh look to take it into the next era. We stayed there in 2007 for our 20th wedding anniversary. It was magical, like time had stayed still and the French elegance of the 18th century was there for all to enjoy. We had dinner at Les Ambassadors restaurant for our celebration.... I wish them well but I wish they were retaining some of the antiques ... thank-you for letting me know!
    best wishes and have a great Sunday!

  8. From Relais Reviewer gilespie@iafrica.com
    Wonderful, wonderful Crillon.
    Flagship of Relais & Chateaux.
    Home of our dreams, dream destination and best of the over 100 Relais in which we have stayed. We wish you an elegant, effortless transition and a successful relaunch.
    One of a kind at the crossroads.



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