To be the only person in the luxury hotel business in Paris with your specific job title is no small feat. Julie Eugène is the the Royal Monceau's art concierge, a sui generis position created by Philippe Starck when his redesigned hotel, which has a contemporary gallery called "Art District," opened in 2010.
Eugène, 35, studied contemporary art at the University of Paris VIII, and has now held the title for eight years. She acts as a liaison to the bottomless Paris cultural scene for very discerning guests (rooms at the Royal Monceau often start at four figures), and there is very little that Eugène doesn’t know or can’t get guests into-for a price.
Want a private tour of the Picasso Museum-just you and the security guards? That can be arranged but it will cost you (up to 30 thousand euros).
She has organized an intimate dinner at the Pompidou Centre, a state museum of contemporary art in the fourth arrondissement that is a landmark of modernist design. Naturally, there have been tours of the Louvre arranged by Eugène for guests who do not want to contend with the crowds or wait times.
Perhaps her biggest feat, Eugène told me recently in Paris, was arranging a private tour in 2014 of the Picasso Museum right before its reopening, just a few hours before then Prime Minister Francois Holland came to open it to the public. “That was really challenging,” she said.
Eugène is essentially paid to be a culture vulture. She sends out a newsletter to all the guests with her picks of events, ranging from music to dance. She can also act as an art dealer or middleman, given her connection to many of the established and up-and-coming galleries in Paris.
A few of her favorite galleries are Kamel Mennour, which has two spaces in the sixth arrondissement and one in the eighth, the well-established Marion Goodman, and La Galerie Particulière, which Eugène likes for its elite selection of photographs. For really emerging and cutting-edge, she sends guests to the Marais. Eugène also acts as art advisor and has helped helped guests with six-figure art purchases, she says.
But those visiting do not even have to leave the hotel to get a whiff of art, making the Royal Monceau not just a luxury hotel destination but one for art enthusiasts and collectors. There’s arguably one of the best art bookstores in town and the first in a luxury hotel in Paris, La Librarie des Arts, in the lobby.
The hotel’s art collection was selected by top Paris curator Hervé Mikaeloff, who works with LVMH, the French luxury conglomerate. The entrance to the property’s intimate Michelin-star Italian restaurant, Il Carpaccio, is in a shell wall created by Swiss artist Thomas Boog, who was commissioned by Starck himself to “create two seconds of wow.”
Naturally, budding Picassos-that is to say children-can immerse themselves in the art world, too. Eugène has collaborated with Macha Brodsky, a sought-after art teacher, to host her weekly children’s art workshop “Les Ateliers de Macha.” Every Saturday morning Brodsky has an art project related to something in the current Paris cultural milieu-one week they’ll be taking inspiration from the Miro exhibition at the Grand Palais, while another Christian Dior at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
“The idea is to make them discover new cultures and artists but mostly their own talents,” says Brodsky, who has facilitated large art events for children at institutions such as the Louvre and companies like Johnson & Johnson.
And who knows, maybe one day Brodsky’s students will be displayed at the Royal Monceau.
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