Les sites de Paris: Hôtel de Sully
What is now called l'hôtel de Sully located on rue-Saint-Antoine in what is now the 4 ème arrondissement of Paris was built by Jean Androuet du Cerceau for the financier and notorious gambler Mesme Gallet in 1625. Ten years later it was bought by le duc de Sully, the former minister of Henri IV, thus the hôtel's current name. (The word hôtel in French is used in several ways. In this case, it means "mansion." In Sully's time and up until the French Revolution, rue-Saint-Antoine was the most prestigious street in Paris.
The housing estate of Place Royale (now called Place des Vosges) had made the area of the Marais very fashionable. In 1624, Gallet asked du Cerceau to build a hôtel directly near by. After Maximilien de Béthune, le duc de Sully, purchased the hôtel, it remained in his family until the mid-XVIII ème siecle. During the French Revolution, it was much altered. It was used as a shopping arcade and then shared between many different tenants. The state bought it in 1944 and a restoration program started in 1976 enabled the building to regain its initial look. It is now the headquarters of the National Fund for Historical Monuments and Sites, Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites. The hôtel de Sully is a remarkable example of what was called "the baroque temptation" style of architecture.
The plan is classic and characteristic of French art: a yard and a garden surround a central dwelling body, in front of which are two wings and two pavilions. The whole is strictly symmetrical. The rich decoration of sculpted façades was influenced by the baroque style. Semi-circular openings with triangular pediments stand on two levels, above dormer windows flanked by patterns of scrolls. On the main body and the wings of the building, eight figures in high relief symbolise the Elements and the Seasons.
Only a few blocks away is the former residence of the archevêque de Sens, l'hôtel de Sens, where reine Margot, the unfaithful wife first wife of Henri IV watched in amusement as her new "and more virile" lover murdered her old lover. A short distance to the east at the end of rue-Saint-Antoine is place Bastille, referred to in the post above. In conjunction with Place des Vosges behind it, l'hôtel de Sully is one of the many delights of Paris's Marais.
Sundial, Hôtel de Sully
One of the Elements, Hôtel de Sully (below)