History of the Relais du Louvre

Managed by Sophie Aulnette since its opening in 1991, the hotel is soon going to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Located in the heart of historic Paris, the Relais du Louvre is a youngster compared to building it occupies, which has stood through the reign of Henri IV, Louis XIV, the Revolution, the Belle Epoque, etc.


The time of construction of the building now occupied by the Relais du Louvre is unknown, but appears to date back to the 16th century, as illustrated by several drawings, watercolors and photographs.

Saint Germain-L’Auxerrois et la rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain-L’Auxerrois – Theodor Hoffbauer - 1834
Saint Germain-L’Auxerrois and the Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain-L’Auxerrois – Theodor Hoffbauer – 1834

The Journal des Débats

The French National Library contains numerous documents testifying to the siting of the Journal des Débats at the current address of the Relais du Louvre. The Journal des Débats was created during the Revolution in 1789. It was one of the most widely circulated newspapers in 1830 before being discontinued in 1944.

Famous figures such as Hector Berlioz, Victor Hugo and Jules Verne published their articles in it.

Salle de rédaction du Journal des débats en 1889 - Jean Béraud
Editorial room of the Journal des Débats in 1889 – Jean Béraud

Café Momus

The ground floor and the first floor of the present-day Relais du Louvre were occupied by the famous Café Momus until 1856, as shown in the watercolor by Shotter Boys in which it can also be seen that the house still had its gable, characteristic of pre-Renaissance buildings.

The Café Momus, which apparently boasted five billiards tables, was the setting for some of the scenes in Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henri Murger which inspired Puccini’s opera La Bohème. The café was also frequented by a number of celebrities such as Chateaubriand, Nadar, Gustave Courbet, Charles Baudelaire and others.

The address where “half a cup only cost 5 pennies”, according to the writer Alfred Delveau, went bankrupt and closed in 1856. It was then occupied by the Colin hardware store.

La Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain L’Auxerrois. A gauche avec le café Momus - Thomas Shotter Boys vers 1833. A droite avec les Couleurs Colin - Charles Marville, 1860
The Rue des Prêtres Saint-Germain L’Auxerrois. On the left with the Café Momus – Thomas Shotter Boys, circa 1833. On the right with the Colin hardware store – Charles Marville, 1860

A narrow escape

In 1856, the building narrowly escaped the demolitions linked to the enlargement of the Place du Louvre, as can be seen in a famous photograph by Édouard Baldus. The 20th century was approaching with the major modernizations conducted by Baron Haussmann.

Agrandissement de la Place du Louvre – Edouard Baldus - 1856
Enlargement of the Place du Louvre – Edouard Baldus – 1856

19, rue des Prêtres-Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois
75001 Paris

+33 (0)1 40 41 96 42


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