Monday, October 12, 2009

Inside the Embassies of Paris

Paris, as a capital city, is host to hundreds of embassies, many in sumptuous palaces. But the grand architecture we now associate with the missions of the foreign countries wasn't always the case.

During the Ancien Regime, most foreign emissaries to Paris were housed wherever appropriate lodging could be found -- and often according to the value of their good graces to the Court and a complex hierarchy of precedence.

But in the 19th century, with increased international relations, came the necessity of finding permanent dwellings for these foreign ministries. The opportunity for housing befitting a nation presented itself in the wake of the French Revolution. Many grand mansions of the aristocracy, now vacant, were acquired for the diplomatic missions.

Each of these beautiful hôtels in the "noble faubourgs" of Saint Germain and Saint-Honoré, and the rococo palaces near the Parc Monceau, is now a small island of homeland of the country it represents. As such, they are not normally open to the general public (although a few might fling open their doors briefly on les Journees du Patrimoine.)

We thus too seldom have a chance to view their lush, gilt interiors, their art treasures and ornate carved panelling. These chancelleries and embassies remain as mysterious to us as the intricate codes of diplomacy.

Now we have the good fortune -- at least in book form -- to peek inside for the first time.  In Ambassades à Paris, author and historian Elisabeth Martin de Clausonne and photographer Hermine Cleret take us inside for a tour of these magnificent buildings. Text is in French, but the photos speak for themselves.


Anne Doyle said...

It looks like a beautiful book, Polly. Could it be found in the USA?

All good wishes!!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

I've been trying to find out if ships to the US. Also have contacted the publishing house. Stay tuned!

Polly-Vous Francais said... ships to the US for 9 euros, plus 1.90 euros per article for 10-12 day shipping. Here's the link

Locations of visitors to this page
Travel Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory blog search directory Targeted Website Traffic - Webmasters helping webmasters develop high value relevant links. Promoting ethical web-marketing using the time trusted pillars of relevance and popularity.