< FRANCE | PARIS: The Westin Paris - Vendôme
The Hotel Continental was designed to be the most comfortable and luxurious property of its kind. The plans were the work of the architect Blondel, the son-in-law of Charles Garnier, who built the casino in Monte Carlo and the Grand Opéra in Paris. Among the creative minds responsible for the interior design of the Hotel Continental were Laugée, who embellished the Sainte-Clotilde church, Faustin-Besson, who decorated the Tuileries and Saint-Cloud royal residencies (both later demolished), Luminais, who painted the hunting scenes in the restaurant, and Mazerolle, who created the panel devoted to Jupiter and Mercury in the Salon Napoléon.
Inaugurated in 1878 to welcome visitors to the World Fair, the hotel Continental, future Westin Paris, has been from the very beginning a favorite Parisian meeting place,
receiving numerous members of royalty and celebrities.
On July 7, 1880, members of the Franco-American Union and sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi met at the hotel to discuss plans for a monument to the Franco-American friendship, which later became New York City’s Statue of Liberty.
Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, took up residence here during her husband’s exile from 1898 to 1919, as commemorated by an inscription near the front entrance; and Victor Hugo presided three large banquets celebrating his 79th, 81st and 83rd birthdays in the lavish Imperial Salon on the ground floor.
In 1919, French Prime Minister André Tardieu and French President Gaston Doumergue chose the Hotel Continental to install some of their services. Tardieu was a close collaborator of another Prime Minister, George Clemenceau. Both were key figures in the formulation of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War.
From Princess Grace of Monaco to Woody Allen, from Gerard Depardieu to such top international figures as Colin Powell and the Dalai Lama, it is impossible to keep count of the political leaders, company presidents and artists who have stayed in this establishment.
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