The hôtel de la Marine (also known as the hôtel du Garde-Meuble) is a building on place de la Concorde in Paris, to the east of Rue Royale. It was built between 1757 and 1774 on what was then known as place Louis XV, with a façade by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, Premier architecte du Roi and designer of the square. The identical building to its west now houses the Hôtel de Crillon.
The building works were led by Jacques-Germain Soufflot. Its two pediments contain allegories of Magnificence and Felicity by Guillaume II Coustou and Michel-Ange Slodtz. It originally belonged wholly to the crown, at first being used by the Garde-Meuble, whose galleries were open to the public from 9am to 1pm on the first Tuesday of each month between Easter and All Saints’ Day. It also housed a chapel, a library, workshops, stables and many apartments, including those of the intendant of the Garde-Meuble – at first Pierre Élisabeth de Fontanieu (1767-1784) then Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville-d’Avray (1784-1792).
When the Government was forced to join Louis XVI in quitting Versailles and setting up in the palais des Tuileries, the secrétaire d’État à la Marine, César Henri de la Luzerne, was hosted at the Garde-Meuble by his cousin Thierry de Ville d’Avray. Thus, from 1789, it housed the naval ministry. Led by admiral Decrès, the ministry considerably expanded its offices until it occupied the whole building.
The magnificent interior decor by Jacques Gondouin, inspired by Piranesi, is an important step forward in 18th century taste, but was profoundly distorted by changes under the Second French Empire, although the grands salons d’apparat and the Galerie Dorée still maintain some of the original elements.
It now houses the French naval staff.
Photo Credit: Mikael