REVIEW – A beautiful book looks at the decorations and furnishings of the Élysée Palace and the way in which the successive occupants left their mark.
Built for the Count of Évreux in 1718, which became presidential residence in 1871, the Élysée has never been practical to use. But it bears the traces of its occupants, Mme of Pompadour, the Murats, Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine, the Duke and ss of Berry or Napoleon III. Below the Ve Republicall presidents will want to make their mark, through choices of carpets, furniture or paintings.
“The Élysée offers a fairly direct reflection of the imagination and ambitions of successive presidents”writes the general curator of heritage, Thierry Sarmant. General de Gaulle didn’t like the Élysée. He will still have his office set up in the Doré salon, and will work on a Regency piece of furniture made by Charles Cressent. The Pompidou, art lovers and collectors, took the opposite view of the General, and intended to make the Palace a showcase of modern France. It was the time of Paulin furniture and decors by Yaacov Agam, a true palace revolution.