A Tribute to Franco-American Friendship: The Restoration of the George C. Marshall Center in Paris

May 27, 2010
Artisan Helps Restore Marshall Center in Paris

About the Authors: Stephanie Dos Santos and Paul Patin serves in the Public Affairs Section at U.S. Embassy Paris.

This week marked the re-opening of the George C. Marshall Center following 10 years of restoration. Dedicated artisans, craftsmen, and designers on both sides of the Atlantic labored to make the restoration of this tribute to Franco-American friendship a reality. The project was entirely funded by private donations. French historians, American and French architects and artisans, guided by an international Steering Committee made up of former U.S. ambassadors and French opinion leaders, collaborated on this vast project -- a model of cooperation between our two countries. Thanks to the restoration, the George C. Marshall Center can continue its legacy of hosting diplomatic events and meetings for international scholars, artists, and leaders of government and business. It will also serve as an educational resource for future generations.

The Hotel de Talleyrand, which houses the George C. Marshall Center, is a national treasure and one of the landmark buildings of Paris, a monument to 20th century Euro-American relations. The Hotel was built in the 18th century by the celebrated French architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, who also designed the Place de la Concorde, on whose northwest corner the building sits. It takes its name from its most famous long-term resident, Napoleon's Foreign Minister Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, known to most Americans as the shadowy French diplomat behind the "XYZ Affair." (Restorers of the building noted that certain mysterious changes to their work, that tended to occur when the building was unoccupied overnight, can only be explained by the workings of the ghost of the man who betrayed at least three different French governments.)

The hotel was purchased and enlarged by the Rothschild family in the 19th century. Upon the liberation of France, the U.S. military used the Hotel de Talleyrand as its administrative center. Subsequently, the building was the European headquarters of the Marshall Plan. As such, it is a monument to our common political, economic, and social history. Today, the Hotel de Talleyrand and the George C. Marshall Center feature a permanent exhibit that celebrates the extraordinary cooperation of European and American individuals under the Marshall Plan to establish both the economic recovery of Europe and a lasting spirit of international collaboration after World War II.

Between 1952 and 2008, the building housed the Consulate of the American Embassy in Paris, the offices of Public and Cultural Affairs, the Benjamin Franklin Documentation Center, and the George C. Marshall Center. Today, the George C. Marshall Center, the Paris offices of the law firm Jones Day, and the World Monuments Fund Europe and France together offer a new vitality for the building.

Comments

Comments

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 28, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

Les Francais. C'est drole.

Pauline C.
|
Canada
July 15, 2010

Pauline C. in Canada writes:

I worked for the Marshall Plan as a secretary from around 1950 to 1953. Would you know of any blogs or other online leads to other former employees?

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