Historic Houses of Paris

Released at long last in compact format (well, as compact as a 376-page hard-bound coffee-table book can be), Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of Ambassadors is a must-read for luxury magpies – and the compulsively nosey. Far from a mere photo-essay, Alain Stella’s lavish tome not only offers rare insider access to 22 of the City of Light’s most exquisite, and fiercely guarded, hôtels particuliers and Belle-Epoque palaces – with a potted history of the colourful lives and times of their most distinguished owners to boot – but a fascinating glimpse into the hushed world of diplomacy.

From the Goya-inspired tapestries gracing the salons at the Spanish residence and the marbled foyer of the US ambassador’s Hôtel de Pontalba to the (relative) minimalism of the Japanese HQ and swoon-worthy decor of the palatial Hôtel de Charost, the UK’s sumptuous diplomatic seat (hailed as the grandest ambassadorial home of all), step over the threshold of Paris’s exclusive – and elusive – architectural treasures.

Highly recommended. Historic Houses of Paris: Residences of Ambassadors by Alain Stella is published by Flammarion.

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