LES MARQUIS DE LADURÉE
Following his long-time passion for chocolate, Mr. David Holder, Chairman of Ladurée, decided to devote to this exquisite substance a special place within Ladurée family, creating a new brand entirely dedicated to chocolate.
Place Vendôme is a square in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, located to the north of the Tuileries Gardens and east of the Église de la Madeleine. Its symmetrical architecture by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and pedimented screens canted across the corners give the rectangular Place Vendôme the aspect of an octagon. The original Vendôme Column at the centre of the square was erected by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz and torn down in 1871 by decree of the Paris Commune. It was subsequently re-erected and remains a prominent feature on the square today.
Ritz Paris reopened in June, 2016 after it was shut down to complete a four-year renovation.
When the Swiss hotelier César Ritz bought the property in 1898, then the Hôtel de Lazun but originally a private palace constructed in the early 18th century that was home to several noble families, he did so with visions of opening the most luxurious hotel in the world.
And indeed, with every guest room equipped with its own bathroom, an unheard-of amenity then, the Ritz seemed to instantly attract high society. What prominent names were regulars? Maybe the better question to ask is, which ones were not? The cadre of famous names with an affinity for the Ritz throughout its existence included Marcel Proust, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Coco Chanel, who lived there for 34 years, from 1937 to 1971.
But even the best hotels wear with age.
Mohamed al-Fayed, the Egyptian businessman and the current owner, bought the property from the Ritz family in 1979. In 2012, he decided to shutter it for the first time, to conduct a makeover that would bring it back to its former glory. “Closing down the hotel was not an easy decision to make, but it was necessary to maintain the pre-eminent position of the Ritz Paris,” he said in an email to The New York Times.
Much of the task for this upgrade fell to Thierry W. Despont, the New York-based French architect and designer, who, in an interview in his TriBeCa offices, said that he had sensed a tiredness about the Ritz in the time he had spent there on visits to Paris. “It needed a redo, but maintaining its essence and strong identity was essential, and my vision was to keep the Ritz exactly as it was but better,” he said.
Aesthetically, the hotel still has the traditional 18th-century French décor that its guests are familiar with, but the difference now, according to both Mr. Boyens and Mr. Despont, is that there is a lighter, fresher feel throughout.
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Dr. Ricci Sylla is an ObGyn by profession and avid, snap-happy photographer at all other times. She likes taking pictures mostly of food but since the recent population explosion in her family, cute nieces and nephews show up much more frequently in her Picasa files. She hearts cake, ice cream, macarons, cotton candy and fancy desserts.
Photos may not be used without permission.