An incredibly rare property was up for auction on January 23rd 2020. An abandoned private mansion hidden behind a building which had also stood abandoned for some thirty years in the capital’s 7th District.
Rue Oudinot (7th District). The ensemble comprises a building set by the street, an inner courtyard and a period mansion opening onto greenery and surrounded by a number of neighbouring gardens.
REAL ESTATE AGENTS consider the property to be exceptional, unique, phenomenal... There is no shortage of superlatives. In his official presentation, Maitre Bruno Picard remained somewhat more low-key, describing "a real estate ensemble comprising three buildings offering a total 1592 sqm of living space and set in a 2 032 sqm plot. The starting price shall be 6 million euro and the auction will take place at a public sale on Thursday January 23rd at 2 p.m. at the tribunal de grande instance de Paris (17th District)".
Today from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the curious can, during a public visit, discover or rediscover this sleeping beauty located at 12, rue Oudinot in the heart of the 7th District just a stone's throw from Matignon and Les Invalides.
The state of the ensemble was so pitiful that a provisional report of manifest abandonment was drawn up on December 24th 1998. This seems almost surreal, considering that standing in an overgrown plot of wasteland the ensemble is just a few hundred metres from Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s former apartments. This unique property is embroiled in a complex debt and finance affair which no one, apart from the interested parties, could really explain... and which nonetheless brought JP Morgan Chase Bank and a Dutch company with a arm’s length-long name to the tribunal de grande instance de Paris. The company was founded by members of the Galard Terrande and Rimonteil de Lombares families, distant descendants of the Duke of Burgundy no less. High society indeed...
"The potential is enormous"
Today, after thirty years during which the building by the street has been walled-up and nature has run riot behind it, sleeping beauty is set to awake from her slumber. Over recent days architects, developers, wealth managers and captains of industry have flocked to the Faubourg Saint Germain. Maitre Bruno Picard's phone rings constantly and the Féau agency have continued to organise more and more individual visits.
Passing though a narrow iron door in a corner of this dilapidated building, the visitor discovers that the old porch which led to a once beautiful paved courtyard has, like the windows once overlooking the street, been walled up. It is therefore through a sadly decaying and dark corridor that visitors must pass to discover the true extent of what lies behind.
Rue Oudinot (7th District). Behind the abandoned and walled building nestles a private mansion with a 17th century pediment and a paved courtyard.
Time, it seems, has stood still. This is a forgotten part of Paris. - LAURENT RICHARD. ARCHITECT
A mansion with its 17th century pediment awaits... it is however impossible to venture into the building in safety. Visitors have to go to the garden, with its ancient trees and wild grass (listed as an espace vert d’intérêt patrimonial ou historique majeur) to discover the beautiful facade of "a country house", as it is described by the Féau experts. Little windows, green shutters. The building unquestionably needs significant work, but equally unquestionably is worthy of bids and yet more bids.
"Time, it seems, has stood still. This is a forgotten part of Paris. The extraordinary romantic ambiance that reigns makes one almost forget the tragic state of the buildings" remarks Laurent Richard, an architect who has come to visit on behalf of one of his clients. "The potential, however, is enormous. It has to be love at first sight. And the amount of work to be undertaken will depend on the degree of luxury that will be required." Féau underlines the key point of such an investment: "Probably one of the last properties of this significance in the Faubourg Saint-Germain neighbourhood." According to the presentation brochure "The ensemble comprises a building by the street, an inner courtyard and a private mansion to the rear opening onto an extensive garden, and itself surrounded by several gardens." Recent photos certainly whet the appetite. Who would not be tempted, if they could afford it, to live here?
"As this is a public sale it is open to the public," say the specialists responsible for visits. These however, are only possible by reservation and only potential buyers can cross the threshold. During the public visit, local residents would no doubt have loved to been able to take a peep at what is, to them, a cause for some concern. Jean-Guy Collignon, President of the Association pour la sauvegarde du site de la rue Oudinot, vows to be vigilant with regard to the environment... "In the general interest". "