The Lambert Hotel, © Marianne Ström

It was the real estate transaction of the century in Paris and it took place in the Marais – or rather on the Île Saint-Louis. The founder of Free Xavier Niel has just purchased the splendid Hôtel Lambert for the modest sum of 200 million euros! He plans to set up a cultural foundation there. Located at the bow of the Parisian island, this exceptional property built under Louis XIII previously belonged to the former Emir of Qatar Hamad Ben Khalifa al-Thani (1995-2013) who acquired it in 2007 for the trifle 60 millions of euros.

" 200 millions ? It’s expensive and at the same time it’s not expensive because such a property is priceless,” estimates Franck Aprile, from the Enfants Rouges real estate agency, in the Marais. “It’s off the market, we’re touching on the priceless,” adds his partner Philippe Gaudry. At 51.000 euros per square meter, the Lambert Hotel is officially the most expensive real estate in Paris. This is more than three times the average price per square meter.

The Lambert Hotel, © Marianne Ström

The hotel was built in 1640 by Louis Le Vau for the young financier and advisor to King Jean-Baptiste Lambert, lord of Thorigny. The latter died shortly after his purchase and the hotel was taken over by his brother Nicolas Lambert de Thorigny, who had the interior decorations completed by the greatest artists of the time. Charles Le Brun executed his monumental work The Gallery of Hercules there.

Then, the property is resold several times. In 1732, it was acquired by the farmer general Claude Dupin then by the famous Marquise du Châtelet who sold it in 1745 to the farmer general Martin de La Haye. In 1843, Prince Adam Czartorisky found refuge there after the Polish insurrection of 1830 against the Russian occupiers.

The hotel became the home of the Polish community in exile for a century and a half. In 1975, Count Adam Stefan Zamoyski, descendant of the Czartoriskys, regretfully parted ways with this family jewel, which he sold to Guy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild.

In 2007, the purchase of the hotel by the Emir of Qatar hit the headlines. Parisians take a dim view of the sale of such a jewel of French heritage to a foreign investor.

The Lambert Hotel, © Axel G.

Especially since the new owner plans to install… a car elevator! The project was abandoned following numerous protests. In 2013, a fire partially destroyed the building and ravaged Eustache Le Sueur's Bains cabinet and several other XNUMXth century murals.

With the purchase of the Lambert Hotel, Xavier Niel continues to play Monopoly in Paris. In 2016, he bought the Coulanges hotel, located on Place des Vosges, for 31,5 million euros, or 13.500 euros per square meter. The colossal Parisian heritage of the founder of Iliad (the parent company of Free), includes a building on rue des archives (near the BHV) intended to become a luxury hotel, a private mansion on quai de la Tournelle (5th), the hotel particular Gulbenkian (6th), a house in the upscale Villa Montmorency district (16th), the Palais Rose at the bottom of Avenue Foch (16th).

Text: Morgane Joulin

15.04.22

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