It’s a royal flush! A French billionaire just forked over a king’s ransom — $227 million — for a mansion he doesn’t even plan to live in.
Xavier Niel — a telecommunications billionaire and one of the richest men in France who started France’s first internet provider at the ripe old age of 25 — just purchased a Paris townhouse known as the Hotel Lambert from Prince Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, according to Bloomberg.
It had served as one of the prince’s private residences and he had pour some $147 million into renovating the 43,000-square-foot property.
Those renovations didn’t even include the Prince’s provocative plans to build an underground parking garage for his fancy fleet. The city put a kibosh on that when rumors of a car elevator started circulating.
Al-Thani purchased from banker Baron Guy de Rothschild for $90 million in 2007 — meaning that all told he sold for a slight loss.
The Hotel Lambert — “hotel” in this case just means “mansion” in French — dates back to 1640. It was designed by one of Louis XIV’s most beloved architects and a brainchild of Versailles, Louis Le Vau. It even boasts a gallery painted by Charles Le Brun, the French painter and visionary behind the elaborate vaulted ceilings in Versailles’ most recognized room: the Hall of Mirrors.
Located in the 4th arrondissement, the Hotel Lambert is one of only a handful of addresses on Île Saint-Louis — an exclusive island in the River Seine.
But despite practically being neighbors with Notre-Dame, Niel has no plans to move into his new digs. A source says he’ll use it for his foundation. With no other comparable listings on the market, it could be a while before the City of Lights sees its next $200 million transaction.
Christie’s, however, is currently hawking a mansion that comes with serious bragging rights: the only 50-foot-long private indoor pool in Paris. Interested? Price is available upon request. Frustrating? Yes. But it’s the best way to weed out us plebes.