Coco Chanel’s Apartment at 31 Rue Cambon

by hookedonhouses on February 25, 2008

coco.jpe

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” ~ Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel lived at the Ritz in Paris but worked and entertained within walking distance at Rue Cambon. There are four floors: the Chanel store is at street level, haute couture dressing rooms are on the second floor, her apartment is on the third, and her workshop is on the fourth. The rooftop of the building is said to have some of the best views of Paris.

This is the famous faceted mirrored spiral staircase that Chanel designed. It connected all four levels of her apartment and made it possible for her to stand in one spot and see what was happening on every floor.

chanelstaircase.jpe

In the photo below you can see the Chinese screens that she split and used as wallpaper. They feature her favorite flower, the Camellia, which she often used in her designs.

chanelscreens.jpe

Chanel lived here until her death in 1971, and everything has been frozen in time. She didn’t actually sleep here, though–there is no bedroom in the flat. Instead, she kept a private suite at the Ritz across the street.

chaneldr.jpe

Here are the dressing rooms on the floor below her apartment:

chanelhautecouture.jpe

Some other bits of Chanel trivia I found interesting…

  • Whenever she went to her apartment on Rue Cambon, there were orders to spray Chanel No. 5 around the stairway so her signature scent would greet her.
  • She decorated the sitting room with a suede beige sofa in a time when both suede and beige upholstery were unheard of. She was selective about who could actually sit on it.
  • After a fortune-teller told her that 5 was her lucky number, she named her perfume Chanel No. 5, and it made her millions.
  • The original No. 5 bottle was supposedly designed to mimic the shape of Place Vendome. Check out NotCot’s clever photoshopping that matches the dimensions of the bottle to the plaza.
  • When she died at 87, they found only three complete outfits in the closet of her Paris apartment.
chanellounging.jpe

The birdcage in her sitting room was the inspiration behind the 1992 Chanel commercial with Vanessa Paradis (see the video here).

chanelbirdcage.jpe

I found these photos on NotCot, Blographic, and CoolHunting. Photo of Coco Chanel photographed by Man Ray in 1935. You can read more about Chanel and see more photos of her flat at NPR. Vogue has a video tour of Chanel’s apartment here.

chanelext.jpe

P.S. Click here to see more famous residences I’ve featured!


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Melody from ~Pennies In My Pocket~ February 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Ooooooooooooooooooo I LOVE this post and I totally want one of those fabulous chandeliers for my new house! I have all the lighting picked out except for the chandelier above my bathtub! One of these would be PERFECT!! heehheehe

hookedonhouses February 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Hey, Melody, you should take a cue from Mme Chanel and have the chandeliers made with interlocking M’s (for Melody, of course) and P’s (for Pennies/Pockets). Ha. :-)

CindyK February 26, 2008 at 9:41 am

It feels so “Wayne’s World” to say “this is totally the kind of place I want when I’m an empty nester,” but I do. So much is so impractical (where are the storage bins of Lego’s?), and, like MMe Chanel, very beautiful, classic, tasteful, and slightly out-of-reach. Great post, Julia, and I can’t wait for the Kiki article. All I knew of Coco Chanel was that she was an amazing style icon and endorsed getting 8 hours of sleep a night. It was fun to learn more of her and visit her place.

hookedonhouses February 26, 2008 at 10:03 am

I’m glad you enjoyed it, CindyK! I really didn’t know much beyond the basics of her life and career before I started the research, either, and I found her to be a fascinating woman. She had such humble beginnings–born in a poorhouse in France, orphaned by the time she was 6–that it’s amazing that she accomplished so much in her life. And with so much style! (I have a feeling she would not be impressed with the Old Navy yoga pants I’m wearing today…)

fat stylist February 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm

I really enjoyed this blog post. I thought it was accessible information to a classic subject: Chanel. It also gave me tons of ideas on decorating my blank new space.

Love it! March 27, 2008 at 5:37 pm

I absolutely adore the 2 mirrors in her dining room :::drooling::: Nice site!

t. antonia May 5, 2008 at 7:16 pm

does anybody know what period the large gilted white satin chair in Chanels apartment is from? Has anyone ever seen a replica?

Carolyn June 12, 2008 at 5:48 am

Love it, love it, love it !

shahbeen September 8, 2008 at 12:21 pm

absolutely marvellous………its all absolutely amazing………..

Fifi Flowers September 17, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I should’ve linked my Coco Chanel to this! And I should’ve told you I was doing a post and you could link this to me! I also saw a wonderful post at Alkemie about the Ritz redo focusing on Coco Chanel… note to self… MUST search other blog friend’s sites! Wellll… maybe it is not too late… maybe some paintings from here and there and another blurp about Coco with links to you and Alkemie… can we ever get too much of Coco? HMMMMM…

marie December 30, 2008 at 10:13 am

WOW. I see you posted this waaaaay back before I discovered you. There’s my excuse for missing it, then. I LOVED this post. Withmy upcoming trip to Paris in March, I am now putting this on my list to see. lol That is, if I can talk my sister, her husband and MY husband into it!

Marsha December 31, 2008 at 5:27 am

About eight years ago, I found a fabulous book in a second hand store that I really treasure – “The Power of Style.” It features women of class and style, such as Millicent Rogers, Elsie De Wolfe, Pauline De Rothschild, Diana Vreeland and Coco Chanel. Out of al of them, I have to say that Coco was the greatest style icon of the twentieth century.
As always – great post Julia !! xx

Helen January 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Hi, is her apartment open to the public to see?

Toni Criner March 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Im not sure if her apartment is open to the public.. but I am actually going to view her apartment on March 20th and I know most of the tours I will be on is exclusive no public people allowed. But when I go I will ask that question and be sure to update you.

Sanne April 4, 2009 at 4:44 pm

I’m going to Paris next month, and I would love to see this with my own two eyes.. Sigh..
Is that even possible??

Love your blog! Thank you. Keep up the good work. Take care.

Steve October 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm

1. I do not think it is possible to see her apartment unless you are Anna Wintour or are sleeping with a very rich french man/woman. I’ve tried, but to no avail.

2. That said, can anybody tell me who the manufacturer of that lovely sofa is? I’ve heard a rumor that the one on ‘Frasier’ (the American TV show with Kelsey Grammar) is supposedly an EXACT replica, but every time I watch I can’t really tell. Plus, I believe hers in actually in suede, but I could be mistaken. I do not believe they had ‘ultra-suede’ or anything synthetic back then.

In this economy, and being unemployed- I doubt I will be in Paris anytime soon- but hopefully- someday soon- the 3rd time will be the charm?!

David December 13, 2009 at 7:39 pm

@Steve, I don’t know who made the original, but Marco makes a replica of the Chanel sofa that’s well-regarded in design circles.

Maggie December 25, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Oh, absolutely stunning: your research, pix & text! Coco is in my top 5 (no pun intended) of women i admire in our world, i have loved her perfume since i was a little girl. Thank you so much for answering questions i have had for a long time…mon ami (hope that is correct French)…m

Shawnda December 26, 2009 at 12:56 am

The other day I heard a piece on NPR about this apartment. They reported that one room was conspicuously missing… the bedroom. She slept at her suite in the Ritz which was a 5 minute walk away. Why not?

Sky January 7, 2010 at 12:08 am

OMG!! Truly amazing! A classy apartment for one classy lady.

Teresa February 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm

how much is it to tour the apartment?

Char Charles April 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

I also have: http://www.interiors4men.wordpress.com.
I just wanted to say I like your style.
.-= Char Charles´s last blog ..HappY EasteR =-.

Jessica April 8, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Can you acutally tour her apartment, and if so how much is it …

hookedonhouses April 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I think it’s a “by invitation only” type of thing, but I’m not sure. -Julia

The Antiques Diva April 28, 2010 at 7:10 am

Excellent article… was just researching Coco and found my way to your blog! Excellent details!
Toma

Camilla Persson May 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Magnifique…I love it =)

Hamtonitegal June 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Just gorgeous! I was in Paris as a child, so of course I couldn’t even imagine being impressed with anything. Now it’s time to go back. This time it would be something on my list to try to get in and view this gorgeous apt of hers. What a lovely place. Shows she had great taste in pretty much everything!! How would a person obtain an invitation to see her place? Please do tell!!

hookedonhouses June 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Wish I knew! I imagine you have to get a personal invitation from someone at Chanel. If anyone knows another way, fill us in! -Julia

tech support nyc September 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm

This was a great post, thanks for the info.

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