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Karl Lagerfeld’s Parisian party palace where Victoria Beckham hosted a catwalk show is on the market for €200 million after being seized from Gabon’s ruling dynasty in a military coup – but no one wants to buy it


A Parisian mansion that was Karl Lagerfeld’s party palace for 30 years is at the centre of a bitter battle to find a new owner.

Situated on the capital’s Left Bank, 18th-century mansion Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo is synonymous with glamour, having provided a sumptuous backdrop to a number of runways, including Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2024.

The state of Gabon purchased the property in 2010 for almost €100million, with the intention of it acting as a base for a Gabonese diplomatic mission and economic bureau in France.

However, it is thought to have been used as a private residence by the Bongos, the controversial dynasty that ruled Gabon, west Africa, for five decades before they were overthrown in August 2023 in a military coup.

As a result, the Gabon junta seized the mansion last summer and have since made the decision to list it for €200million to finance infrastructure.

The 18th-century mansion Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo is synonymous with glamour

The 18th-century mansion Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo is synonymous with glamour

Despite a third of the country’s 2.3 million population living in poverty, Bongo was one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world.

But Omar Bongo, who was the second president of Gabon for nearly 42 years until his death in 2009, and his son Ali, who succeeded him, are being accused of swindling tax payers’ money to purchase the private property in France.

The family is under scrutiny in a criminal investigation for allegedly taking a share of hundreds of millions of euros from deals involving Gabon’s raw materials, particularly oil, according to the French media.

Named after the aristocratic Corsican family who owned it until 2010, Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo underwent a significant renovation by some of France’s leading interior designers – under the direction of Gabon’s ambassador to Paris. 

The property provided a sumptuous backdrop to Victoria Beckham's spring/summer 2024

The property provided a sumptuous backdrop to Victoria Beckham’s spring/summer 2024

The private residence belonged to the Pozzo di Borgo family until 2010

The private residence belonged to the Pozzo di Borgo family until 2010

Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo was Karl Lagerfeld's primary residence for 30 years

Karl Lagerfeld is pictured inside his 'party palace' Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo

Karl Lagerfeld is pictured inside his ‘party palace’ Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo

A grand ballroom is decorated with gold panelling and opulent chandeliers

A grand ballroom is decorated with gold panelling and opulent chandeliers

The coveted venue hosted various catwalk shows, including Victoria Beckham and Marni, during Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2024 last month. 

But now, the residence has become a source of embarrassment for the former French colony.

General Brice Oligui Nguema, a military officer serving as Transitional President of Gabon, is said to have made the decision to put the property on the market.

Situated in the Rue de l’Université, Paris, the hotel was Karl Lagerfeld’s primary residence for almost 30 years. 

Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo has been listed for €200million

Hôtel Pozzo di Borgo has been listed for €200million

The luxurious residence features jacquard wallpaper, patterned rugs and original oil paintings

The luxurious residence features jacquard wallpaper, patterned rugs and original oil paintings

Golden panelling and opulent mirrors adorn many of the walls

Golden panelling and opulent mirrors adorn many of the walls 

The Marni spring/summer 2024 catwalk was held at the hotel last month

The hotel added a glamorous backdrop to Marni's spring/summer 2024 catwalk

The Marni spring/summer 2024 catwalk was held at the hotel last month 

The former artistic director of Chanel rented up to 1,000sq/m in the mansion and decorated it in an opulent 18th century style.

A number of glamorous parties were held within its walls, including one celebrating Nicole Kidman‘s Chanel No 5 advertisement in 2004.

During this time, the mansion was owned by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a Corsican French businessman who was also the director of Pommery.

The property also played host to Vivienne Westwood’s eccentric spring/summer 2010 show during Paris Fashion Week.  

A sweeping staircase is lined with royal blue and gold carpet

A sweeping staircase is lined with royal blue and gold carpet

The hotel played host to Vivienne Westwood's spring/summer 2010 show

The hotel played host to Vivienne Westwood’s spring/summer 2010 show 

Grand chandelliers feature in every room of the private residence

Grand chandelliers feature in every room of the private residence

The Gabon junta seized the mansion last summer and have since made the decision to list it for €200million to finance infrastructure. 

Several of the country’s wealthiest people, including Bernard Arnault, founder of the luxury goods giant LVMH, have been approached, according to Glitz Paris.

Despite potential interest from buyers, there is hesitation to deal with the leaders of a denounced coup, as Western governments, including Britain, have criticised the situation.



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