< PORTUGAL | PORTO: Grande Hotel de Paris
Constructed on the site of the former Hotel Francês (1846-1853), the building of the Grande Hotel de Paris originally housed Philharmonic Society of Porto. In November 1877, the press announced the opening of "a magnificent first class hotel" and ever since then, the doors at Rua da Fábrica 27-29 remain open as the Grande Hotel de Paris, today also known as the oldest hotel in Porto!
In the same year, both Douro River sides were linked by railway through the bridge D. Maria Pia, a symbol of the flourishing city in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, context in which
the hotel was born. The Frenchman Gabriel Dupuy managed the first company, formed by illustrious citizens of Porto at the time, such as Ernesto Chadron, founder of world-famous bookstore
Major personalities of the Portuguese culture of the nineteenth century stayed at Grand Hotel de Paris, such as the writers Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós, Guerra Junqueiro, or Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (artist known for his illustration, caricatures, sculpture and ceramics designs, is considered the first Portuguese comics creator).
The writer Eça de Queirós (1845-1900) stayed at the Hotel Paris before his marriage to Emilia de Castro, from the end of November of 1886 to 10 February of the following year: the writer, that later would be consul in the French capital, had by the time between hands, the reviews of his book "The Maias: Episodes of Romantic Life", master work of the European literature of the that time. During those two months, writes fourteen brief notes, sent by messenger from the Grande Hotel of Paris to the Palace of Santo Ovídio residence of the bride.
Over time, the Hotel Paris was directed by French maîtres. In 1956 Jose Martinez becomes the owner of the hotel, along with three other Galician.
Jose Martinez was in his thirties when he left Pontevedra, Galicia. The Spanish Civil War settled the fear throughout the region. The destination for the young man is Porto and the Grande Hotel de Paris. He was employed as head waiter in the mid-1930s.
For most of the second half of the twentieth century, the famous hotel's restaurant served "the best appetizers in town" – so it was said, from mouth to mouth. Time in which it was place of gatherings and socializations, customs that came from other times, from the beginnings of musical soirees, dinner parties, concerts, meetings of men of politics and culture.
The current owners, since 1989, work on the preservation of the identity and the charisma of the Grand Hotel de Paris, reference for culture and accommodation in the city. In 2010, the project "Grande Hotel de Paris – A Story in Porto", was started that originated until now the book about the history of the hotel, an exhibition and a short video about the hotel.
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