Nestled in the leafy, luxurious Golden Triangle of Paris’ Champs-Elysees is a particular gem of Parisian culture and history. In a neighbourhood with iconic hubs like the Theater Rond-Point, Hotel George-V, Theatre Marigny, Crazy Horse cabaret, and the slow, sparkling Seine, is a restaurant that earned itself the prestige of a historic monument designation in 1983.
The Fermette Marbeuf, as it was named, opened in 1898 in the lead-up to the Universal Exhibition of 1900, a world fair celebrating French nationalism and the turn of the twentieth century. The restaurant was originally founded under the ownership of the Langham hotel on nearby Mogador Street, and quickly drew attention for its “1900 Room.” Created in the winter garden style — that is, emulating the glass conservatories which served as pleasure rooms for the wealthy; annexes, often adjacent to castles, in which palm trees could be kept year-round — the room was rife with decorative details. A glass ceiling, stained glass panels, murals, opulent chandeliers, mosaics, frescoes, ceramics, and decorative objects planted this room firmly in the belle epoque art nouveau style. The term ‘belle epoque’, which literally translates as ‘the good times’, could be felt in the pure decorative decadence of this prestigious restaurant. Its original designers, architect Emile Hurtré, craftsmen Hubert and Martineau, and ceramist Jules Wielhorsk, created a room that was, quite simply, pretty — and excessively so.
The room underwent a restoration project in 1978, but it’s the grand scale of a recent renovation project that is creating a stir of excitement in the design (and foodie!) world.
The project was undertaken by Humbert & Poyet Architecture, a Monaco-based firm founded by interior architects Emil Humbert and Christophe Poyet. The firm, founded in 2007, has over a decade of prestigious projects in its portfolio, which includes high-profile luxury projects in Paris, Berlin, London, Mexico City, Dubai, and Hong Kong. This includes showrooms, offices, villas, apartments, and the fine dining Chinese gastronomy restaurant Song Qi in Monte Carlo. The team was hired by restauranteur Riccardo Girraudi, who acquired possession of the historic site in 2018 with plans of transforming this space into a Beefbar, one of a chain of fine dining restaurants scattered throughout continental Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico, and soon Saudi Arabia.
The renovation of historical properties is always a task that carries with it a measured amount of responsibility; there comes a pressure to salvage, to resurrect and preserve, while ushering the building into the modern age. Humbert & Poyet succeeded in reclaiming the original ornate beauty of this space. Still firmly rooted in the art nouveau style, the space has been infused with soft lighting and foliage. Rust-coloured chairs and olive upholstered benches give a plush, cozy vibe to the space. And, of course, in a nod to the room’s origins, patterns are key; art nouveau-inspired carpeting creates a sea of visual interest underfoot. This continues upwards, to eye level and beyond, with colourful murals of women, flowers, and peacocks.
Once guests finish admiring the surroundings, the sensory delights continue with a decadent menu — curated around, of course, different kinds of beef.
Interested in indulging in the luxury of a bygone era? Reservations can be made here.
Photos via Beefbar Paris.