Billionaire Art Collector Xavier Niel Bought a $226 Million Paris Hotel Rumored to Be the Future Home of His Cultural Foundation

The sale is one of the largest real-estate deals in Paris history.

French billionaire Xavier Niel has bought the Hotel Lambert in Paris from Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani for more than €200 million ($226 million). Photo by Tangopaso, public domain.
The Hotel Lambert in Paris. Photo by Tangopaso, public domain.

French telecom billionaire and art collector Xavier Niel has bought the historic Hotel Lambert in Paris—which has hosted the likes of Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau at literary salons—for more than €200 million ($226 million). It will be used, according to Bloomberg, as the headquarters for Niel’s cultural foundation.

The 43,000-square-foot townhouse was built from 1640 to 1644 by Louis Le Vau, the architect for King Louis XIV and designer of the Palace of Versailles. Its interiors were painted by leading French artists, including Charles Le Brun, who created the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Unfortunately, some of the artworks were destroyed and damaged in a 2013 fire.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed mansion, located in the middle of the Seine on the Ile Saint-Louis, is just the latest in a long line of Parisian real-estate investments for Niel, reports Bloomberg, which estimates his fortune at $8.4 billion.

Xavier Niel, founder of French broadband Internet provider Iliad, poses during a photo session in Paris on January 14, 2021. Photo by Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images.

Xavier Niel, founder of French broadband internet provider Iliad in Paris on January 14, 2021. Photo by Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images.

The Hotel Lambert’s previous owner, Qatari prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani, bought the historic home from banker Guy de Rothschild for more than €60 million ($90 million) in 2007, and has since spent $147 million renovating it, according to the New York Post. The sale to Niel is one of the largest-ever private property deals in the city’s history.

The 54-year-old technology entrepreneur became an early investor in France’s first internet provider when he was just 25, and is the founder of telecom group Iliad SA. He already has an art gallery, Art 42, at his nonprofit école 42, a private, tuition-free computer programming school offering IT training. The exhibition space opened in 2016 as Paris’s first dedicated street art museum, featuring works from the collection of Nicolas Laugero Lasserre.

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