This ornate building is located on 45 Blv Raspail in the 6th Arrondissement. Undoubtedly pre-World War One visitors would have loved the Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, the River Seine, Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. In fact 1910 was the very year that the hotel's neighbour, Le Bon Marche department store, began selling classy fashions to those who could afford them.
Eventually the good times came to an end in Paris. The French government evacuated Paris in June 1940 and Hotel Lutetia was one of the hotels requisitioned by the Gestapo during Germany's occupation of the city. Hotel Lutetia was not the only famous hotel taken over by the German forces - Hotel Meurice on the Right Bank, for example, was the site allocated to the German military. I am not familiar with this murky part of the Lutetia’s history, so I recommend you read Quazen. After Paris was liberated, the Lutetia clearly had a more optimistic and helpful role to play; it became a centre for family searches and reunions.
Hotel Lutetia, Deco bar and lounge today
In the late 1980s, designer Sonia Rykiel opened a boutique in the building, and supervised a major redesign of the interior, restoring the splendid Art Deco of earlier decades. Athletic, naked Deco women in bronze hold up lamps; the Lalique crystal chandeliers are classy; and plush red velvet furniture looks intimate. Hundreds of art objects were placed throughout the hotel’s public spaces and 231 rooms. And like the Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel in Paris, cabinets displaying Louis Vuitton accessories are placed alongside the reception desk.
The centenary celebrations in 2010 were very colourful! Now only one question remains. The hotel was opened for business in 1910 and Art Deco was not popular until 1925 and throughout the 1930s. So what did the interior of Hotel Lutetia really look like, in its original state?