Established in 1898 in the heart of Paris on the Place Vendôme, the Hôtel Ritz instantly became an icon of the city frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, politicians, playboys, and princes. In June 1940, when France fell to the Germans, orders from Berlin specified that the Hôtel Ritz would be the only luxury hotel of its kind in occupied Paris.
Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin-de-siècle Paris to the modern era. The Hotel on Place Vendôme chronicles life at the Ritz during wartime, when the hotel simultaneously served as headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and home to wealthy patrons (and the spies among them) who stayed on in Paris.
Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace's suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery, in which refugees were hidden in secret rooms, a Jewish bartender passed coded messages for the German resistance, and Wehrmacht officers plotted to assassinate the Führer. The result is the story of The Hotel on Place Vendôme—a singular season at the world-class hotel, an intimate and riveting portrait of the last days of the Second World War.