History of Le Meurice
As the hotel of artists and thinkers, stories abound at our historic hotel. From royal visits to regal renovations, read all about it right here.
Take a trip back in time with us to share some of our favourite historic highlights.
Rue de Rivoli was constructed in 1806 and a few years later, in 1811, elegant arcades were built lining the street facing the glorious Tuileries Garden. These grand buildings were designed by esteemed architects Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine. Property developer François Corbie then acquired a stretch of the arcades in order to build what would become Le Meurice.
Le Meurice opened in 1835 and is named after its original owner Charles-Augustin Meurice. His vision was to create a hotel that would be particularly appealing to British people staying in Paris. This was because the Meurice family originally had a hotel in Calais, just across from the English Channel, before becoming hoteliers in Paris.
Over the years, Le Meurice has often been referred to as ‘Hotel des Rois’ (Hotel of Kings), due to our many royal guests. In 1855, HM Queen Victoria stayed with us on her official state visit to Paris and in her honour we renovated the entire first floor.
In 1889, Le Meurice became the first hotel in Paris to have a telephone. The owner Henri-Joseph Scheurich was fascinated by technology and believed this would attract high-profile guests.
In 1898, the hotel’s new owner François Million began a major expansion and renovation project. The builders took in a stray greyhound dog which was adopted by the hotel staff and went on to become our mascot and hotel emblem.
We reopened the hotel in 1907 following a major two-year renovation. It was during this time that the opulent décor in our Ducasse restaurant and Salon Pompadour was created. We also became the first hotel in Paris to have a private bathroom in every guest room and suite and launched our roof terrace as an open-air restaurant with glorious views of Paris.
We opened our first bar in 1936, next to where our current bar is today. It featured an amazing mural which has been carefully preserved and is now on display in our Salon Jeu de Paume event space.
Le Meurice became a Dorchester Collection hotel on April 29, 1997.
In 2007, we were one of the first hotels to work with esteemed designer Philippe Starck. His new interior design elements were inspired by the creativity and playfulness of artist Salvador Dali who famously made Le Meurice his second home.
To highlight our great love and appreciation of art we proudly launched our Meurice Prize for contemporary art, which ran for ten years and supported a series of emerging artists. Our ‘kiss’ statue in the lobby is the work on our first winner, Zoulikha Bouabdellah.
2011 & 2012
In 2011, we were the first hotel to be awarded official ‘Palace’ status and received the Luxury Hotel Label from the French Ministry of Tourism. In 2012, we were named a Living Heritage Business by the Ministry of Craftsmanship, Trade, Tourism and Productive Recovery.
Multiple Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse took on his role of overseeing all dining at Le Meurice in 2013.
Philippe Starck returns in 2016 to bring additional design embellishments to our restaurants and bar. This was also the year our executive chef Jocelyn Herland joined us.
2017 & 2018
Following our executive pastry chef Cédric Grolet winning the title of ‘World’s Best Restaurant Pastry Chef’ in 2017, we opened our own pastry shop in 2018 called La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet.
We unveiled 29 newly-restored rooms and suites in 2019 including a spectacular penthouse suite, marking the start of yet another exciting new chapter in our rich history.