Missing Élysée Palace Furniture Turns Up on eBay

Politician says: "It's a mess."

The French president's office Photo via: Herodote

Precious crockery from the Élysée Palace, home to the French president, has turned up on eBay, Le Figaro reports. The publication claims that a military attaché who served during the 1950s got into the habit of giving manufacture de Sèvres plates away as presents.

The embarrassing revelation comes after the Court of Auditors declared 32 artworks and 625 pieces of furniture missing from the presidential residences: the Élysée Palace, the Versailles hunting lodge La Lanterne, and the Fort de Brégançon on the French Riviera, which is soon to be turned into a national monument.

The lack of up-to-date inventories means that it’s impossible for the Court of Auditors to establish when the pieces went missing.

The presidential residences are furnished by the Mobilier National with pieces from the state collection and decorated with artworks on loan from national museums.

In an effort to cut the losses, new measures have been put in place: from now on, each time a piece disappears, it has to be systematically reported. (It seems astonishing that this was not previously the case.)

The socialist MP René Dosière told Le Figaro: “At the Élysée, the management of what goes in and out is fairly improvised. When an inventory is done, the Mobilier National doesn’t have the same figures as the Élysée, which in turns doesn’t have the same figures as the inventory commission. In short, it’s a mess.”

It isn’t the first time that scandal surrounds the presidential furniture. A few weeks ago, Mediapart reported that Nicolas Sarkozy’s dogs destroyed the armrests of several pieces, causing €6,600 ($8,858) worth of damage. A precious sofa, which was sent back to the Mobilier National for restoration, had been soiled with animal hair and urine.

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