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In the capital’s particularly elegant 7th arrondissement renowned for its superb private mansions, a remarkable property steeped in history has undergone a sumptuous restoration. Exposed beams and fleur-de-lys form a backdrop to beautiful volumes gallied with stylish contemporary comfort.
The address itself is magical: 15 rue du Bac. That is to say, surrounded by antique shops and galleries in the heart of timeless Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and just a stone’s throw from Orsay museum and the Seine, which you cross to stroll through the Tuileries garden or to visit the Louvre. And speaking of the Louvre... In the 17th century, the “Palais” was not a museum, but the residence of Louis XIII, and subsequently that of the young Louis XIV. The former created a company of bodyguards who were to become the legendary King's musketeers, and the heroes of Alexandre Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers”. Louis XIV, in 1659, installed them in barracks on the other side of the Seine at this very address: 15 rue du Bac. Today, a pediment above the entrance bears witness to the building’s prestigious and romantic past, and to the “grey musketeers”, so called because they rode grey dappled horses. After five years of painstaking work on everything from the roof to the structure itself, the building has been meticulously restored in a manner befitting its rich historic past.
In the magnificent entrance hall, superb ironwork, lighting, and columns recall the “Grand Siècle,” as the 17th century became known. The floor features a cross made up of fleur de lys: the emblem of the musketeers. A second wrought-iron gate opens onto a paved courtyard adorned with magnificent hardwood latticework. Although new, this could have come straight from the Palace of Versailles. While furnishings in the apartments are refined and contemporary, with large fitted kitchens, under-floor heating, wine cellars, and bespoke dressing rooms, the exposed beams and stone on the upper floors reflect the origins of the building.
The dozen apartments, whether they overlook the street or the courtyard, benefit from the latest in contemporary comfort paired with authentic period charm. Fireplaces and gilded mirrors rub shoulders with reversible air conditioning, double glazing, and fibre optics. The exceptional common areas feature a state-of-the-art lift, as well as a staircase beautifully decorated with stained glass windows and stencil paintings. Over many months, craftsmen from across France have put the finishing touches on this remarkable building, making it is easy to see why restoration took five years to complete. The top-floor apartments enjoy views of the Eiffel Tower and the spires of Sainte-Clotilde Basilica and, with their east and west exposures, are particularly bright from sunrise to sunset. Finally, as the floor plan has been significantly redesigned, 15 rue du Bac today offers apartments ranging in size from 65 to 210 sqm. D'Artagnan could return with his family...