Les Dames du Pantheon
Not so long back, a mini-scandal broke out in France about the fact that the Panthéon houses 72 “great men” and just two women. Way before that, Corinne Moncelli had already chosen her own Dames du Panthéon by deciding to celebrate the women who dared, those who loved, the passionate ones, the women that decided to forge their own future - free, independent women.
While thinking about the renovation de Hôtel du Panthéon, the project put forward by interior designer Valérie Manoïl was not to use the decoration to retell these women’s lives literally, but to take them as inspiration for discrete, poetic touches.
Through a subtle mix of contemporary creations and original vintage furniture, the 35 rooms over the six floor all have their feminine side.
The 19th century was tough on French women’s freedom. Napoleon’s civic code made them officially ‘dependent’ on men which left little room for any emancipation.
The Cocottes, extremely intelligent women, often endowed with irresistible powers of seduction, realised how to exploit masculine weakness with their charms, and managed to rise in a sort of parallel society thanks to the generosity of their ‘patrons’. The Valtesse de la Bigne was one of these famous courtesans. She inspired Emile Zola, Edouard Manet, Gustave Courbet and others.
We wanted to evoke this mixture of love and determination, found in the high-class boudoirs of the era, in our first floor rooms.
Edith Piaf was a frail sparrow of a woman literally born in the street, but who went on to achieve incredible success thanks to her amazing voice. Her chaotic life saw her experience much love, friendship and generosity.
She refused to be held back, and braved a lot of disdain
after her passionate affair with Marcel Cerdan. Unfortunately, this came to an
abrupt end when he was killed in an air crash. Despite the pain this caused
her, she continued to help Cerdan’s wife and child by donating to them the love nest
she and Cerdan had bought together.
The style of the 1950s, and vintage pieces from the time, have inspired the rooms on the second floor.
At the beginning of the 19th century George Sand was a well-known writer and woman of conviction. She defended women's cause, extolled the virtues of passion, eschewed marriage and fought against the prejudices of a conservative society. Never scared of scandal despite his tumultuous affairs, she started a fashion for women in men's clothing, and used a male name in order to have her work published.
Her volcanic relationship with Alfred de Musset remains famous to this day, thanks to the extremely ingenious coded correspondence they used to avoid the prudishness of the times.
The masculine / feminine sides of George Sand are evoked in the third-floor rooms, referencing her house in Nohan.
At the end of the 1940s, Juliette Gréco, a free-thinking young woman and Saint-Germain-des-Prés muse dared to fall in love with an American musician, Miles Davis whose only crime (for the era) was to have been born black. Racial segregation was still rife at the time.
The beautiful couple was obliged to succumb to social pressure and were unable to marry. This painful episode only served to reinforce Greco's love of freedom and galvanise his fight against intolerance.
The freedom in jazz music guided our research for the fabrics used for the furniture and wall coverings in the fourth floor rooms.
Starting in the 15th century, the Signares, half cast African women born from the love
between slaves and European colonists, succeeded in acquiring an
important economic role and high social status. They were repute for this
intoxicating beauty and the riches they cleverly increased through trade all
along the western coast close to Senegal.
With fanciful clothing and important Sunday parties, they led lives as ‘femmes fatales’, cultivating their sensuality to extremes.
It is this African style, a joyous melting pot both contemporary and enchanting, that you will find in the rooms of the fifth floor.
As a starting point, we used an episode from the life of Marguerite Duras, as told in her famous novel "l'Amant". The story of a 15 year-old girl, growing up in Indochina of the 1930s, who dared to break certain taboos by taking a Chinses man twice her age as her lover. All her life, Duras was suject to salacious rumours that she paid no attention to. She fought for her freedom until her last breath, defending a multitude of causes that helped society advance in the 20th century.
It is the East that guided our choices for the silky, colourful, refined interiors of the sixth floor.
We also wanted to pay tribute to the innumerable women who did not find fame or glory, all the anonymous women who had to make choices, and despite the setbacks that face women even today, fought for themselves. Let us not forget all these women who dared, who loved, who took their destinies into their own hands and became free and independent.
Take a look at the new photos of the Hotel du Pantheon taken by Interiors Pictures.
Hotel du Pantheon Location
Situated in the heart of the historic 5th arrondissement, just minutes from the Jardin du Luxembourg, and overlooking the iconic, awe-inspiring Panthéon.
Celebrating Mother's day during one month
We’re celebrating Mother’s Day and roses all through May at the Dames du Panthéon. You’ll receive a free bouquet of roses from 'Nom de la Rose', four rose-scented bath soaps, two bottles of nail varnish in red and pink, and two glasses of champagne.