With the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop, this prestigious address is meant for Cartier, the ‘Jeweller to Kings and the King of Jewellers’.
The Maison thus becomes part of the heritage and the legend of Paris.
Opened 10 years ago, this renowned address went through a major transformation, born out of a desire to take clients on a unique journey into the heart of Cartier.
This private townhouse, built during the Second Empire, now features a central entrance onto the famous Avenue: a monumental opening with windows over seven metres high, dramatically framing two impressive chandeliers hanging in a row.Two floors spanning 650 square metres, a spiral staircase, and a Frenchstyle room layout – just as on New York’s Fifth Avenue and London’s New Bond Street, this new location perpetuates the tradition of Cartier as a Grande Maison.This exceptional space is divided into private lounges, a portrait gallery, and the-med spaces dedicated to diamonds, men, jewellery, and accessories. The subtle luxury of the chosen details, the measured extravagance, and the ultimate com-fort all reflect the high standards of refinement that a Cartier boutique demands. 154 Champs-Élysées is the first in a series of large-scale openings and reno -vations: Chengdu (in southwest China) is set for spring, Seoul and Tokyo in autumn, and finally New York in early 2016.These strategic projects highlight the dynamism and pioneering spirit which have always characterised Cartier – the balance of honouring an important legacy while keeping a contemporary perspective of evolving with its clients, who are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan luxury connoisseurs.
The majestic décor of a regal address
Eight months were required to finish the work on 154 Champs-Élysées, during which time the space was revised in its entirety. Parisian interior designer Bruno Moinard is behind this original vision.The floor: alternating between Versailles parquet and Istrian stone floo -ring set with tone on tone cabochons, it is surrounded by a golden border. The entrance: eight metres high, and with two chandeliers which are almost five metres wide made by French glasswork artist Régis Mathieu*, it is surrounded on either side by three curved balconies. It is a vast and regal space, modernised by smooth oak walls, and large panels of glass and golden threaded tulle.The staircase: designed as a spiral, it unfurls majestically, with a bronze bannister along walls shimmering with natural pigments, hand-coated by the workshop of French artisan Pierre Bonnefille**.The tones: golden-white and beige-coloured arches, wood panels with bronze patina, red carpets, and grey oak – the elegance of the tones bathed in gold ligt lends a luminous and sophisticated atmosphere to the space.
The Champs-Élysées and Cartier: a meeting of legends
The Champs-Élysées came into being late in the 17 th century, and quickly became the kingdom of the new aristocracy through a town planning pro-gramme which gave rise to private residences, townhouses, and mansions. Bankers and industrialists flooded onto the avenue, bringing artists, writers, and patrons in their wake. And this is how the bucolic promenades of the 18 th century were transformed into modern and important addresses, under Haussmann’s influence, at the beginning of the 19 th century.It was certainly a commercial avenue, but it was also a literary one, with salon meetings playing out behind closed doors, and fashionable cafés and famous hotels where the world’s writers came to establish their Parisian quarters. A world of legendary figures whose paths crossed with Louis-François Cartier, the Maison’s founder. One of them lived at number 98: Mathilde Bona-parte, a Cartier client, whose salon was a meeting place for the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Renan, and Taine between 1870 and 1904. The princess, Napoleon’s brother Jérôme’s daughter, left St. Petersburg in 1845 to settle inParis. She was impassioned by Cartier’s creations, and ordered almost two hundred pieces, filling several pages of the jeweller’s ledger book.
The most beautiful avenue in the world
Nearby, at number 138, the American banker and billionaire Vanderbilt moved into a beautiful, grand three-storey house, which he enriched with a precious collection of paintings and artwork. His wife, Mrs. Cornelius Van-derbilt, inhabited a refined world influenced by end-of-century aesthetics, whose origins go back to Oscar Wilde and D’Annunzio.Like her, a generation of entrepreneurs made wealthy through industry or financial speculation dreamt of splendour inspired by Versailles. The interior design was in the traditional 18 th century style. At that time, Cartier star-ted to develop Garland-style creations, combining brilliance and elegance with the constant search for pared-down lines. This new vision of jewellery immediately conquered the new ambassadors of good taste who made the Champs-Élysées the world’s new fashionable address.
Santos, flying madman of the Champs-Élysées
So the Champs were the place to be, and Brazilian aviator Santos-Dumont didn’t waste any time getting the idea off the ground. Alberto Santos-Dumont lived at number 150 on the avenue. His house featured uniquely tall furniture to give him the impression he was gliding. Both a friend and an inspiration to Louis Cartier, he played an important role in the creation of the famous watch bearing his name. Back then, the aviator wanted to be able to tell the time while flying his plane, a biplane which he often would park on the side path of the Champs-Élysées at number 150.
It was a race whose momentum was broken by the war, only to come back even stronger in the wake of all of Paris marching on the most beautiful avenue in the world, while General de Gaulle issued badges by Cartier to triumphant soldiers of the resistance.