We were extremely saddened by the news that the Hôtel Lambert in Paris was severely damaged by a fire last Wednesday. It took 170 firefighters all night to put out the blaze. The historic mansion is owned by Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullah Al-Thani of Qatar, and due to renovations, firefighters were not able to get inside to put out the fire. According to the BBC, 7,000 square feet of the roof was destroyed along with part of the central staircase.
We previously featured the Hôtel Lambert in our article, The 3 Most Architecturally Innovative Hôtel Particuliers in the Marais. It was commissioned by Jean-Baptiste Lambert, secretary and councilor to Louis XIV, and designed by Louis Le Vau (architect of Versailles) in 1641. The mansion’s shape is very unusual, due to the oddly-shaped plot of land on the Quai d’Anjou at the edge of the île Saint-Louis. Yet Le Vau rose to the challenge, wrapping the outer façade around the quay to form a curved interior courtyard. The beautiful paned French doors were among the first in Paris and were inspired by Italian architecture.
Inside, the ceiling of the Galerie d’Hercule was painted by Charles Le Brun. Lieutenant Colonel Pascal Le Testu, a spokesman for the fire department, reported that Le Brun’s paintings were “severely damaged by smoke and water.” Art historians are currently assessing the state of the building. The Hôtel Lambert is much loved for its rich cultural history. Voltaire shacked up with his mistress there, and Chopin was a guest as well. This fire caused a devastating loss to French architectural heritage.