Smoke rose from renowned Paris mansion Hotel Lambert – after 170 firefighters spent the night battling a huge blaze that engulfed it.
Built in the 1640s, the building has a rich history. Musicians, writers and political exiles have all resided within its walls over the centuries. The Lambert has been owned by Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullah Al-Thani of Qatar since 2007.
It is not known how the fire began. Pascal Le Testu from the Parisian fire service explained why battling the flames was difficult:
“The roof has partially collapsed, as well as some of the stairs, so we’ve had to tackle the fire from outside. The second problem is that the building is undergoing renovations, so there are a lot of hazardous materials in there, such as acetylene bottles.” Testu said.
Parisians have been saddened by the damage to the historic residence – where the composer Chopin was known to work and the philosopher Voltaire once hid out with his lover.
One local said: “It had wonderful ceilings. Unfortunately, when you see how they chop the roof with axes, you ask yourself a lot of questions.”
Lambert is considered one of the finest examples of 17th century French architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.