Landmark Paris Mansion Is Damaged By Fire | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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

'Furious 7' Races To New Record, Quickly Hitting $1 Billion Mark

Universal says the movie is the studio's first to cross the billion-dollar mark during its first run in theaters, putting it above films such as Jurassic Park and Despicable Me.
NPR

Culinary Siblings Give Pasta A Healthy Makeover

In a low-carb world, pasta has issues. But it's poised for a comeback, say Joseph Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, who talk with NPR's Linda Wertheimer about their cookbook, Healthy Pasta.
NPR

Advice For Beleaguered Battleground State Residents: Leave Town

With the presidential campaign season already underway, NPR's Linda Wertheimer has a hot tip for swing state voters feeling besieged: Rent your house to a political operative and take a vacation.
NPR

Company's Secret Weapon To Make Videos Go Viral

Videos don't always go viral just because they're clever or show a cat prancing on a skateboard. Often a company finds the video, promotes it and sells its licensing rights to media buyers.

Leave a Comment

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