With the expansion of the Embassy’s services, the French government decided in 1946 to rent from the British Crown, the residence of the 10th Duke of Marlborough in Kensington Palace Gardens. Built in 1840, it has been extensively restored and modernized. During World War II, it housed Air Force officers in charge of the network of barrage balloons placed around London to protect the city against air raids.
The new residence was inaugurated in 1950, it was destroyed by fire in 1992 - while being refurbished, there was no furniture there - and was entirely rebuilt using French and British architects and workers.
The architectural style of the building, with its tall rectangular windows overlooking Hyde Park marks the transition from Regency to Victorian. The residence contains some fine French furniture, paintings by French artists, Gobelin and Beauvais tapestries and Savonnerie carpets dating from 17th and 18th centuries.
© J. Kergoat