Paris, Hôtel Lambert

Paris, Ball at the Hôtel Lambert, published by Duchess Czartoryska, woodcut in L’Illustration, 1845, IV, 353. Collection: Photographic collection of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw [F.3561].


From 1843, Duke Adam Czartoryski and Duchess Anna Czartoryska organised numerous soirées, balls, charity dinners and desserts at the Hôtel Lambert on the eastern edge of the Île Saint-Louis. ‘they entertained on a grand scale, drawing guests not only from the Polish colony but also from the elite of le tout Paris.’ These events, which Chopin regularly attended, ‘were frequently held in the splendid LeBrun Salon, with its frescoed ceiling, marble sculpture, medallioned walls, and parquet floors. Much of the Hôtel Lambert’s grandeur at this time was the work of Eugène Delacroix, who contributed to the renovation of the seventeenth-century mansion.’ The previous owner ‘had allowed the sumptuous edifice to fall into a state of neglect […] As for the Czartoryskis’ gala soirées at the Hôtel Lambert, guests remembered them principally for three things: their lavishness, their noisiness, and the great diversity of those present. […] Often the notorious clamor of the Hôtel Lambert gave way to an attentive silence during the princess’s many musicales. There, on select occasions, Chopin or one of his pupils [who included Maria Kalergis, Delfina Potocka and Marcelina Czartoryska] treated the company to an impromptu performance. […] Apart from the inspirational effect of his music, Chopin aided his countrymen in many other ways’ [Atwood, The Parisian Worlds…].