Located at the heart of Paris near the Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel de Talleyrand is among the most important historic European buildings under the
stewardship of the U.S. Department of State. This former grand residence was the site of the administration of the Marshall Plan, when the building was purchased
by the U.S. government after World War II. Built between 1767 and 1769, the Hôtel de Talleyrand was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel and its interiors were
designed by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin, one of the most prominent architects in eighteenth century France. The building is an exceptional example of architecture of the French Enlightenment, whose neoclassical interiors were only slightly altered during the time the Rothchild family occupied the building.
Initially built for Compte de Saint-Florentin, Duc de la Vrillière, the structure was subsequently purchased in 1812 by Maurice de Talleyrand Perigord who used the site to receive heads of state and international dignitaries, marking the beginning of its lengthy history as a site of diplomatic activity. Following Talleyrand’s death, the residence was purchased by Baron James-Mayer de Rothschild and remained in the possession of his family until 1947, when it was purchased by the U.S. government. To this day, the building is used for receiving guests at diplomatic meetings, receptions, conferences, and cultural events. The conservation mission to restore Hôtel Talleyrand was launched in 1999 by the U.S. Department of State under the direction of the U.S. Ambassador to France. World Monuments Fund joined in the conservation effort and successfully implemented the final phase of work from the summer of 2003 until the fall of 2006. The campaign focused on a suite of ten rooms named the George C. Marshall Center in 1985 by the State Department. Many of the most significant interventions occurred in the
Grand Reception Room and the State Office. An extensive study of the decorative schemes was undertaken and analysis was completed on traces of color samples taken to determine the original colors of each room. These studies resulted in the identification of an eighteenth century glue-based gray paint as the original color layer, and a contemporary replica of this paint was introduced into the rooms, bringing the original decorative scheme to life once again. Interior decorative surfaces were cleaned, wood paneling and ornamental features were restored, reconstitution of original gilded and painted finishes was completed, and the stucco ceilings and decorative plasterwork were renewed.
Although many of the decorative elements of the State apartments remain in situ, the main fireplace, relocated under the direction of the Rothschilds, was returned to its original location between the Grand Reception Room and the State Office. The two doors originally flanking the hearth were also recreated, reestablishing the original architectural layout. Hôtel de Talleyrand is a spectacular example of a late eighteenth century Parisian townhouse, or hôtel particulier. Moreover, it was designed and decorated by two of the most famous architects of the era. In addition to its intrinsic historical value, Hôtel de Talleyrand is also the focus of over a century of European and American political, economic, and social history. Once a pivotal site of American foreign diplomacy, the building continues to host international political and cultural events.