Latest update on the Hotel Lambert


1. Louis Le Vau (1612-1670)
Hôtel Lambert (seen from the Seine)
Photo : D. Rykner

22/2/09 – Heritage – Paris, Hotel Lambert – After the lively debates in the press on the restoration of the Hotel Lambert (see article of 19/1/09 in French, on La Tribune de l’Art), here is a brief update on the latest events in the case.

The Commission supérieure des Monuments Historiques will meet on 9 March to hand down a ruling on the preliminary study. The transparency of a few weeks ago has been put on hold, at least for the moment, as we were not allowed to take another look at the study to verify some further points. Still, we were told that after the Commission’s meeting, the documents would once again become available and that the site, once the work has started, will be open on a regular basis for journalists.

2. Hôtel Lambert
Third floor
On the right, plaster neo-renaissance chimney
At the rear, tained-glass window, 19th Century
Photo : SCI Hôtel Lambert / M. Lombard

The information we have received allows us to hope that the controversy will have served a useful purpose. In fact, as concerns several points, things seem to be moving in a positive direction.
First of all, Alexandre Cojannot, a specialist on Louis Le Vau, is now a member of the Comité scientifique which until now only included, except for representatives from the offices of the Monuments historiques ( Denis Lavalle and Francois Macé de Lépinay) , two historians of 17th century painting (Alain Mérot and Jacques Thuillier). The installation of a parking lot under the garden no longer seems to be on the agenda, the initial proposal of locating it under the courtyard now looking more possible again. However, this solution is not entirely satisfactory. The Rothschilds had cars which they parked on the ground floor of the left wing or in the courtyard. Why couldn’t the new owner do the same ?
As for the elevator which is to cut through a joisted ceiling and which would also require the destruction of a 19th century staircase, it seems that another, less traumatic, plan is now being considered. Nevertheless, it still raises a number of problems and, ideally, the best solution would be, here again, to give up this superfluous addition.

What will happen to the 19th century refurbishments, notably the stained-glass windows (ill. 2) ? Will the replacement of the dormer windows to an 18th century state, contested by several specialists, take place ? Many of these questions remain unanswered and will continue to do so even as work continues on the site. We will keep our readers updated.

Version française


Didier Rykner, dimanche 22 février 2009



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