The Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, France

In 1758, King Louis XV commissioned the greatest architect of his day, Jacques-Ange Gabriel, to build twin structures overlooking the Place de la Concorde. The result was a masterpiece of 18th-century architecture. Behind one of the facades rose a sumptuous private residence decorated by the era’s finest artists and craftsmen. Such are the origins of the Hôtel de Crillon, created to host the world’s great ambassadors. Long owned by the illustrious family of the Counts of Crillon, this private mansion was transformed into a luxury palace hotel in 1909 under the impulse of architect Walter-André Destailleur.

The Buen Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

The gardens were extended in the 1620s, when Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, Philip IV’s powerful favourite, gave the king several tracts of land in the vicinity for the Court’s recreational use. Olivares determined to build, in a place that the king liked, a royal house which should be superior to those villas that Roman nobles had been setting up in the hilly outskirts of Rome during the previous century. Although this second royal residence was to be built in what were then outlying areas of Madrid, it was actually not far from the existing Alcázar or fortress residence, and the location in a cool, wooded area proved to be ideal.

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

The Arc de Triomphe was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806 and its iconographic program pits heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages.

La Paix de 1815 is one of the four main sculptural groups on one of the Arc’s pillars. La Paix de 1815, by Antoine Étex commemorates the Treaty of Paris, concluded in that year.