Welcome to the Hôtel de Talleyrand — George C. Marshall Center
By walking through this historic building, visitors are following in the footsteps of emperors, tsars, kings, politicians and ambassadors from all over the world, spanning a period of over two centuries. A look at the architecture of the building and the importance of its owners over the past 250 years reinforces the understanding that it was destined to be the location of significant events throughout history.
Today, we invite you to discover this mansion and the rich history of its many successive inhabitants.
The diplomatic receiving salons of the Hôtel de Talleyrand are the ceremonial suite of rooms designed in the 18th century to host distinguished guests. The private apartments were located above and below the salons. Servants’ quarters were on the top floor, while the kitchens and stables occupied the ground floor.
In the 18th century, as was the tradition, guests to the mansion were greeted in the main courtyard, before being escorted through the vestibule, up the grand staircase, and through the three antechambers. They would then be received, according to their status, in one of the rooms of the diplomatic salons overlooking the Rue de Rivoli: the Grand Reception Room, the State Office, or the Oval Room. Admission to each successive room thus signaled the guest’s importance to his host.
The two large reception rooms at the beginning of the visit, the Grand Dining Room and the Rothschild Dining Room, did not exist at the time of Saint-Florentin nor Talleyrand. They are part of the extension built for the Rothschild family in 1868-1871.
The suite of rooms overlooking the Rue de Rivoli were restored to their 18th century splendor, while the three antechambers, the Grand Dining Room and the Rothschild Dining Room, as well as the Rothschild Boudoir, were restored to their 19th century décor. A small surface on the upper cornice called a “witness” has been left unchanged in almost every room in order to display its state before the 2000-2010 restoration campaign.
Visitors will notice several decorative items that complement the restoration of the rooms and add to their ambiance but were not originally part of the building. The U.S. State Department acquired them thanks to generous gifts and donations. In order to facilitate the rooms’ current use as event spaces, they have been left intentionally sparse.
To discover all the rooms:
Credit U.S. Department of State
Photo credit U.S. Department of State