Opened in 1910 on the initiative of the Advisory board of the department store “Le Bon Marché” for their important clients, the Lutetia
hotel is significant in the history of Paris for being a transition from the Art Nouveau of the day to the then emerging style of Art Deco. The Hotel is located at 45 Boulevard Raspail, in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of the 6th arrondissement of Paris, one of the best-known hotels in the history of Paris on the Left Bank. The architects at the time, commissioned sculptor Léon Binet and later, Paul Belmondo (father of actor, Jean-Paul Belmondo) to decorate the hotel’s facade in the ‘Art Nouveau’ style comprising branch-like depictions with imposing floral details intermingling with grape vines and grape clusters.
The Lutetia quickly became a place where the anonymous could be found alongside the famous, where art, philosophy, science and politics were continually created, discreetly and without ostentation. A place of intellect; a place of experiment, gifted for creating and developing ideas. Shortly after the Lutetia opened, its early success was interrupted by the First World War and later again in June 1940, when the French government evacuated the occupied city. The hotel itself (like other Palace Hotels in Paris) was requisitioned during the Second World War by the occupation forces and used to house, feed, and entertain the troops and officers. In 1944, the Lutetia resumed its intended role and at the orders of General de Gaulle, the hotel became a crucial centre for displaced people and families seeking to be reunited with their loved ones. The hotel welcomed up to 2,000 arrivals each day.