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In the middle of the Rue Saint-Antoine, at N°62, there sits an exquisite hôtel particulier. An impressive 17th-century mansion that was once a private home, the Hôtel de Sully now houses the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.
Sadly, the interior isn’t open to the public, but it’s still worth visiting to walk through the two courtyards and admire the building’s stately facades adorned with sumptuous bas-reliefs.
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful residences in all of Paris, the Hôtel de Sully was home to Maximilien de Béthune, better known as the Duc de Sully, and his family during the reign of King Henri IV. The Duke was a good friend and a comrade-in-arms of the monarch, and it was actually he who convinced the king to convert to Catholicism and pacify the country during the grip of France’s religious wars.
Appointed financial advisor and then superintendent of finances, Sully encouraged agriculture’s development, repeating again and again this now-famous phrase: “Labourage et pâturage sont les deux mamelles dont la France est alimentée, les vraies mines et trésors du Pérou.” (“Plowing and grazing are the two udders from which France is fed, the real mines and treasures of Peru.”)
While the apartments’ most notable resident has long since left, the impressive Louis XIII-style architecture remains. Le Marais was already a fashionable area at the time, with nobles and even the King and Queen building small palaces here, so there are plenty of high-class architectural jewels around. In fact, the Hôtel de Sully gives onto one of the most architecturally impressive spots in neighborhood: the Place des Vosges.
After passing through the home’s cobblestone courtyard and snapping a picture or two in the small garden, make your way to this once-royal square and stroll along the arcades. While you’re there, peek into interesting art galleries, grab a drink at one of the elegant cafés, or visit the home of famous French author Victor Hugo.