Underneath the new building lies a vast, 10,000 m² fortified cellar known as the Underground Vault, which is used to house France’s gold reserves.
The Underground Vault is located in a pocket of hard limestone, situated 10 m below the Seine riverbed (which is itself 10 m below ground level). It was built between 1924 and 1927, after the First World War had raised fears that the Hotel de Toulouse cellars were too vulnerable. The vault was tunnelled out of the rock by 1,200 workers, working day and night for 3 years. It is supported by 720 pillars and protected by fortified walls.
In 1932, the author Stefan Zweig was granted the privilege of visiting the Underground Vault. He wrote a short account of his experience, entitled Besuch bei den Milliarden, which was published in the newspaper Neue Freie Presse in Vienna. A new French edition of his text was published in the autumn of 2016.
The suspended auditorium was designed by the Moatti-Rivière firm which completed the restoration and design of the restaurant on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Like a box within a box, it is suspended from above by means of a reverse U structure. Its design in mirrored stainless steel panels utilised the most sophisticated of naval construction techniques.
The auditorium has a capacity of 200 seats. Its side panels are hung with a special material that provides perfect sound insulation and eliminates stray acoustic reflections. Its decoration repeats the theme of the four elements in the vaulted ceiling of the Galerie Dorée and the royal blue of its logo.
Updated on: 12/08/2016 11:39