EDOUARD LEON CORTES
(1882 – 1969)
Cafe de la Paix
Oil on canvas
18 1/4 x 22 1/4 inches
27 5/8 x 31 5/8 inches
The Café de la Paix is located in the Grand Hotel (today known as the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel). The Café de la Paix is one of Paris’ most famous cafés and its patrons can rub shoulders with rich and famous celebrities who are often guests of the hotel. Designed by Charles Garnier (18251898), it sits at the busy intersection of Boulevard des Capucines and Avenue de l’Opera, across from the Opéra Garnier. The décor of the café has been beautifully restored to its original Empire style.
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoléon III), Napoléon s nephew, became President of the Empire in 1848. After a visit to London, he decided it was time to modernize Paris. Additionally, Napoléon III wanted: better control of the traffic flow, to encourage economic growth, and most importantly, make the city “revolution proof.” He hired Baron Haussmann (1809-1892) to accomplish these goals. Haussmann‘s modernization of Paris, changing its narrow, dark, yet picturesque alleyways to wide streets and open spaces, took place between 1852 and 1870.
Haussmann’s ultimate project in the urban renovation of Paris was the Grand Hotel. He enlisted the help of the Pereire brothers (rivals of the Rothschilds) to finance the hotel. Since its creation, the hotel has been part of the marvel that transformed Paris and gave the French capital the look it has today.