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A Grand Restoration

July 07, 2014
The building took two years to build yet four years to restore to its former glory, in a meticulous process by teams of French master craftsmen utilising traditional techniques in use for hundreds of years.  Only a very small number of companies still possess these levels of experience in restoration of heritage buildings - usually small family companies dating back years, with skills passed from generation to generation.

A Heritage Building Given Back Its Former Glory

The building’s façade had been badly damaged through the years. As architects were instructed to magnify heritage building’s exterior, they hired historic monument specialist, Degaine, to bring it back to its former glory.

The hotel’s exterior façade alone employed the talents of 40 skilled stonemasons to restore the 10,000 sq m area with its elaborate carved stone flowers, bows and ribbons.  Repairs were carried out where possible, carving missing portions by hand using stone dust paste, or where the bas-reliefs were severely damaged, the entire section was replaced by a new stone and hand carved from scratch, using only pictures for reference.

The work also included the rehabilitation of the interior courtyards by Degaine’s stonemasons - two out of the original four towers were entirely deconstructed and then recreated with the exact same stone quality. The two remaining towers were placed in order to provide a symmetrical balance and harmony to the interior courtyard. 

Revival of The Interior’s Beauty And Soul

Architects and Designers hired French master craftsmen utilising traditional techniques in use for hundreds of years to participate in the hotel’s revival of soul and authenticity.

Marble, stucco, mosaics, roof and wall tiles, wood carvings, stone work, gold leafing, paintings and a myriad of other elements have been lovingly preserved and painstakingly restored by some of France’s most revered family firms, dating back generations.

For example, the two paintings on the ceiling of Le Lounge Kléber- representing music and science and geography respectively - were restored by Cinzia Pasquali, who has restored paintings by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre, and also the Palace of Versailles.

In Le Lobby and Le Bar Kléber, a total of 1000 individual pieces of wood were removed from the original building to undergo restoration and re-installation by wood restoration experts Atelier Fancelli, a small family company stretching back three generations and with just 12 employees.

In addition, 20,000 pieces of gold leaf, were used in the restoration of The Peninsula Paris. Specialist gilder and restorer Ateliers Gohard – another tri-generation family company with just 20 employees – handled repairs, gold leafing and hand painting.

Today, the results of this labour of love are palpable and can be felt as one wanders in the hotel, as well as the soul and spirit of the original building.