Christopher Tollemer, the Interior Architect of Le Grand Contrôle

The Interior Architect sets his signature to Le Grand Contrôle. His goal: to guarantee your most spectacular hotel experience by stepping back to the past.

To decorate this legendary place, an hotel in one of the world’s most well-known landmarks, I was honoured to win a competition entered by 25 international architecture agencies. The building which once played host to the ministries of Finances then the Army had been abandoned.

My mission was to restore it just as it was in the 18th century, in 1788. We worked with curators of the Château de Versailles, with the interior of the Petit Trianon for reference. All the proportions are identical to the original ones, the fireplaces have been restored with the same kinds of marble. The long private corridor of the Minister of Finances, which led directly to the Château and the King, has been completely rebuilt. Wandering through it gives you a real thrill… Restoring all its lustre to this place, adapting it to meet codes of luxury while observing technical constraints, creating a kitchen for Alain Ducasse, a Spa… all huge challenges! We furnished the hotel with about one hundred 18th-century pieces by major cabinetmakers.

A long treasure hunt lasting three years in auction rooms, antique shops… enabling us to unearth Aubusson tapestries, Louis XVI consoles… I worked on the precision of the decors with the Pierre Frey firm of furnishing fabrics. Thanks to its drawers of archives, we recreated all the fabrics, restoring the gracious atmosphere of the 18th century.

“I think my wishes have been met: here, it feels as if time stands still.”

The bedrooms, bearing the names of the domain’s great historic figures (Madame de Staël, Rose Bertin…), have no screens. The parquet floors squeak, as in old residences. Régis Mathieu, designer of the chandeliers in the Château de Versailles, perfected a bulb which recreates the intensity of candlelight. The result is an ambiance and a colour of a unique hue. I think my wishes have been met: here, it feels as if time stands still. When you sleep here, when you stroll around, alone, in the gardens of the Château, the dream comes true.


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