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In 2014, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand carried out major renovations on the Salon Opera, restoring Paris’ largest ballroom to its former glory.

The History

The hotel was inaugurated by Napoleon III and his spouse Eugénie and witnessed the glorious history of the Second Empire. Its meeting and conference space includes the Opera Ballroom, a sumptuous venue, with 450 square meters of floor space. It is the biggest ballroom in Paris and has hosted the capital’s most prestigious events for over 150 years. This remarkable Salon, originally used as the hotel’s Dining Room, was built by the architect Alfrèd Armand. Some of history’s most iconic characters; Victor Hugo, Léon Gambetta, Sarah Bernhardt to name but a few, have graced this glorious space. This impressive room inspired Charles Garnier himself for the famous Opera Garnier, which was inaugurated only 13 years after the hotel (1875).

In 1970, the Salon Opera received the recognition it deserved as an architectural masterpiece and was listed as a National Heritage Site.  André Malraux, the Minister of Culture at the time was scandalized by a project to turn the Salon into a car park and took immediate action, obtaining this prestigious label and thus definitively eliminating any further danger to this unique décor. 

The Renovation

Today, the Salon Opera has been adapted to meet the most challenging demands, managing to combine both tradition and modernity. In 2014, the hotel celebrated the reopening of the Salon Opéra following six months of extensive renovations. This most recent restoration followed on from four previous refurbishments in 1902, 1970, 1985 and 1991. Under the supervision of the listed buildings architect, Serge Pitiot, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand mobilized a team of over 50 of some of the best craftsmen in France.

70 kilos of gold leaf have been refreshed and 10,000 carbon fiber rods positioned to bond the layers of ceiling plaster that were beginning to split. A total of twelve different building trades worked on these spectacular restorations, contributing their unique “savoir-faire” to the task of returning this historical flagship to its former splendor. Day after day, roofers, glassmakers, goldbeaters, expert “trompe l’oeil” artists and woodworkers forged, fashioned and shaped the renewal of this listed historical monument. This Herculean task was “orchestrated with a level of precision rivaling the high standards of the Opéra Garnier or the prestigious watchmakers who set the neighbourhood’s elegant pace” explains Christophe Laure, Area General Manager Paris and Managing Director of the InterContinental Paris Le Grand.

The renovation has unveiled hidden treasures and returned the whole Salon to its former brighter self, as it was in 1862.

Works included restoring the historical paintings and sculptures, consolidating the ceiling, repairing the roof and thus ensuring that it was weather-tight.  The Salon Opéra now offers improved security, energy and Internet quality and the conformity of all electrical, aeration and security installations is guaranteed. It is equipped with a variety of lights and a total of 600 electrical LED light bulbs, resulting in a dramatic cost reduction. More modern safety standards are met and as the cracks in the ceiling have been repaired, the acoustics are even better than before. In 2015, new Wi-Fi routers were installed to improve the quality of the wireless Internet provided to our guests.

The total cost of the refurbishment was 5.6 million€, with the most costly elements being the painting, gilding and the final cleaning. Following its reopening in June 2014, the gross revenue events-implied increased by more than 1 million€ compared to the second semester 2013. The Salon Opera’s occupancy rate also saw an increase of 2.19% when comparing the same period. Our guests’ satisfaction has improved with an increase of 4.9% on our Meeting Satisfaction Survey Rate.

Today, the Salon Opera is proud to be considered as one of the most prestigious meeting spaces in Paris and will go on to host the most renowned events for years and years to come.

The Location

Since 1862, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand has been proudly standing in the heart of Paris, only meters away from the majestic Opera Garnier. The hotel is located within close proximity of the “Grand Magasins” and the main cultural attractions. The neighborhood itself reflects the Parisian “art de vivre” and traditions and certainly justifies the prestigious motto of the hotel, “Living the city since 1862”.