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France

Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

© AFP

Video by Charlotte HAWKINS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-15

One of Paris’s legendary luxury hotels, the 104-year-old Lutetia, is to close for three years of renovation, following in the footsteps of other institutions like the Ritz, the Crillon and the Plaza Athénée, all of which are temporarily shuttered.

The Lutetia, located in the chic Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the French capital’s 6th district, has added historical significance: first it served as unofficial headquarters of the German secret service during the Occupation; then it provided shelter for surviving French deportees upon their return from the camps, and as such drew many people searching for relatives and loved ones from whom they had been separated.

Renovations, estimated to cost between 80 and 100 million euros and give the hotel a much-coveted fifth star, are expected to preserve the Lutetia’s art deco style, leaving the facade, roof and lobby, as well as certain rooms and stairwells, intact.

On the agenda are plans to make most rooms more spacious and add a pool.

The Lutetia, which has counted legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve and Czech writer Milan Kundera among its storied guests, will auction off 3,000 pieces of its furniture, 100 pieces of art and several bottles from the hotel’s wine collection in late May.

Although some of the hotel’s 211 employees will be laid off, many others will be offered temporary positions at other Parisian hotels and have the option of returning to their jobs in three years.
 

Date created : 2014-04-14

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