The legendary champagne house of Veuve Clicquot has restored it’s famous townhouse at 18 rue du Marc, in Reims, France where a select few receive invitations. Visits are for company executives, friends and family. This is where Veuve Clicquot’s matriarch Madame Barbe Nicole Clicquot-Ponsardin purchased a bright little orchard in 1822. This little burst of urban greenery entered directly into the Champagne company’s history when the Widow offered it to her German business partner, Edouard Werlé, in 1840. It was a highly symbolic gift. Edouard Werlé not only added his name to Clicquot history, but above all established his geographical and family ties to the city of Reims. Later in 1907 the House of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin acquired the building to host its distinguished guests. Since then, the Hôtel du Marc has embodied this French way of life dear to the champagne house.
In 2007 luxury group LVMH, which acquired the label in 1986, commissioned a renovation which took four years and was overseen by the prominent Parisienne architect and designer Bruno Moinard. In 2011, following many years’ renovations, the Hôtel turned a new corner in its history, deploying its poetry and romantic beauty with a thoroughly modern approach. Moinard was chosen because of his highly personal way of rewriting the narrative of places, with an unmistakable delicacy. A lover of light and lines, he drew his inspiration from the heart and soul of the house, from it’s history, artistic craftsmanship, and details found throughout the property.
Depending on the number of people dining and the mood of the day, the Hôtel’s guests are received either in the Large Dining room, the Small Dining room or the Tasting room.
The Large Dining room flashes its gold against a spectacular matte black background and a wide ash parquet floor. The fireplace and the marble consoles have also been repainted in this palette. In the centre of the room, there is a large table that seats eighteen, surrounded by mahogany chairs upholstered in a “Clicquot yellow” and black horsehair patchwork. Like a fairy-tale, light streams from a gigantic chandelier set with smoked glass drops. And if the daylight is too piercing, huge glacé linen curtains obscure the windows.
In the very antithesis of this style, the Small Dining room exudes a gentle ambience. Faded blues, pastels and ochre tones inspired by the Orient extend along a large wall tapestry.
To access the bedrooms, the main staircase presents itself beckoning of dreams to come. You reach it after crossing the vestibule and its château floor, a large carpet of white stones dotted with black cabochons. Fancy ironwork runs along the stair rail in arabesques, arranged around the monogram of the original builder: an E surrounded by a W, Edouard Werlé’s signature. The grey of hail, the opaque whites of frost, the tender wood of buds, flamboyant autumns, the summer sun on green grass. Like a tale that is reinvented every night, the Hôtel du Marc’s bedrooms offer a changing ode to the seasons of the vine and wine.
The history of each room has then been created in line with the life and tastes of the illustrious figure after whom it is named: Louis de Chevigné, Louis Bohne, Edouard Werlé, Nicolas Ponsardin, Anne d’Uzès, Jacqueline de Caraman-Chimay.
Because Madame Clicquot was known to be an insomniac the bedrooms created by designer Mathieu Lehanneur for the Hôtel du Marc shatters preconceived ideas by implementing techniques found by sleep researchers to aid in the best possible sleep for guests. Here, we quite simply experience sleep. You must let yourself be wrapped in a caressing bubble, while the diffusion of “white noise” isolates the sleeper from any noise pollution. Curtains drawn, the light gently dimming, a temperature of 19° centigrade, perfect for falling asleep. A breeze of sea air whose mineral content swathes the cell metabolism in antioxidant and has moisturizing effects.
Classical with a nod to the modern Hotel du Marc is a unique and exquisite experience. A place of history and art. Where the details of its heritage is combined with a twist of the Orient, and a splash of whimsy. Veuve Clicquot’s signature yellow adds a playful pop to the decor here and there.
But, most of all, to the people of Veuve Clicquot it is a home away from home. Just as Madame Clicquot-Ponsardin and Monsieur Werlé imagined it would be. Dreaming champagne dreams, this once upon a time orchard has grown to be a home for families and fortunes for almost two hundred years.
Photo Credits: Veuve Clicquote
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