Emir of Qatar’s renovation plans for important historic mansion blocked

The mayor of Paris is claiming that renovations by the Emir of Qatar are a serious threat to the only private property from the end of Louis the XIII's reign to remain untouched in the city.

Bertrand Delanoe says that the alterations to the 17th century mansion on the exclusive Saint Louis island in the heart of Paris including an underground carpark, the addition of elevators and new rooms, will spoil the important heritage of the building.

He is planning to block the plans and wants the owner to re-consider and look at more friendly way to renovate the three-storey Hotel Lambert in Quai d'Anjou which was built in 1639 by Louis Le Vau and is part of a Unesco World Heritage site.

'This is a real threat to a gem of Paris' heritage, the only private house from the end of Louis the XIII's reign that remains untouched. I want this plan to be reconsidered, taking the time for a thorough examination,' he said in a letter to Culture Minister Christine Albanel.

Delanoe as mayor has the power to block real estate projects that do not respect the city's urban code. He said that the plan to add a parking with an exit on the mansion's famous curving external wall 'cannot let me, at this stage, give my agreement to the project.'

Qatar's ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani bought the mansion at the tip of the Paris island in 2007 from the Rothschild family for a reported €80 million.

He appointed architect Alain-Charles Perrot to draw up renovations plans and the work envisaged is set to cost €13. Renovations include creating new bathrooms and bedrooms as well as the carpark.

It already has 12 bathrooms and three elevators and many historic features. Some of its galleries and rooms have been decorated by artists including Le Brun and Le Sueur. In the 19th century, composer Frederic Chopin and his partner George Sand were guests there.

Sheikh Hamad owns several other properties in Paris.