NPR : News

Landmark Paris Mansion Is Damaged By Fire

Paris' historic Hotel Lambert, once home to the likes of Voltaire and Chopin, was partly damaged by fire early Wednesday.

The BBC reports that the 17th century structure lost a section of its roof and a central staircase and saw water and smoke damage to celebrated fresco paintings by Charles Le Brun, who also designed the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Paris Deputy Mayor Anne Hidalgo says the mansion has suffered "serious damage," according to The Associated Press.

The Lambert was built in the 1640s on the Ile Saint-Louis, the island that's now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The building once belonged to the Rothschild family, which turned it into a group of apartments for friends. The mansion decayed over time, suffering cracks, mold and other damage, notes The New York Times (subscription required).

In 2007, it was purchased by a relative of the former emir of Qatar, who intended to renovate it with elevators, air conditioning and an underground parking garage. This triggered lawsuits and angered locals, including one who said the work would turn the Lambert into a "monstrosity with the aesthetics of a James Bond villa," reports The Guardian. But a truce was reached, and restoration work began in 2010.

The fire broke out just as the renovation work was nearly finished and took nearly six hours to douse. Fire service spokesman Lt. Col. Pascal le Testu tells euronews that one reason the fire was difficult to fight is because "the building is undergoing renovations, so there are a lot of hazardous materials in there, such as acetylene bottles."

He says there will be a thorough review of the condition of the renowned artwork inside.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Musicians 'Let It All Out' At MTV's Video Music Awards

Complex magazine writer Alex Gale talks about the more than 30-year history and previews what to expect for Sunday night's Video Music Awards on MTV.
NPR

Japan's Centuries-Old Tradition Of Making Soba Noodles

In the remote mountains of the Japanese island of Shikoku, an old woman makes soba noodles by hand from locally grown buckwheat. It's ancient technique that is adapting to modern times.
NPR

Colin Kaepernick Is Just The Latest Athlete To Make A Strong Political Statement

Newly retired New York Times columnist Bill Rhoden discusses NFL player Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand during the national anthem and past political activism by athletes.
NPR

A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields

The five covers feature the company's heroes — including Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Hulk — all engaging in activities educators have been trying to promote.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.