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The Hôtel Ritz, Paris, France

February 4th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Hôtel Ritz is a hotel located at 15 Place Vendôme, in the heart of Paris, France.

The building was constructed in the early part of the 18th century as a private dwelling. In 1854 it was acquired by the Péreire brothers who made it the head office of their Crédit Mobilier financial institution.

The façade was designed by Jules Hardouin Mansart. Converted to a luxury hotel by César Ritz, it opened on June 1, 1898. Together with the culinary talents of minority partner Auguste Escoffier, César Ritz made the hotel synonymous with opulence, service, and fine dining.

The Hôtel Ritz consists of the Vendôme and the Cambon buildings with rooms facing Place Vendôme and on the opposite side, rooms overlooking its famous garden. The hotel became a favorite of many of the world's wealthiest people, with luxurious suites named for some of its notable patrons from the past. These include Ernest Hemingway, for whom a bar in the hotel was named, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Elton John, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo plus couturier Coco Chanel who made the Ritz her home for more than thirty years.

In 1979, the Ritz family sold the hotel to Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed who refurbished it and in 1988 added the Ritz-Escoffier School of French Gastronomy. The hotel was where the owner's son, Dodi Al-Fayed and his companion, Diana, Princess of Wales, had visited when employee Henri Paul drove them from the hotel and crashed in the nearby Pont de l'Alma road tunnel.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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