Le Meurice Hotel in Paris, where Picasso married the Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova in 1918, is offering overnight stays with unique guided tours. Le Meurice invites visitors to discover the tale of romance, intrigue and daring that set Picasso on the road to riches in the heady world of the Belle Époque. The expert guide takes visitors to the painter’s favorite locations in the bohemian Montmartre neighborhood.
When Pablo Picasso hosted his wedding banquet in the Salon Pompadour at Le Meurice on July 12, 1918, it was the event of the season. By then, the legendary artist had had more than a taste of success and his guests – including groomsmen Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire – feasted on sumptuous food and drank vintage champagne.
Picasso’s road to riches, however, was long and winding, for the young Spaniard had arrived in Paris a penniless 19-year-old in 1900. Restless and ambitious, he soon embarked on a journey that irrevocably changed the course of Modern art.
The charming cobblestone streets of Montmartre that so seduced Picasso had offered artists cheap accommodation and plenty of risqué distractions since before the days of the Impressionists.
Somewhat miraculously, the hillside neighborhood had escaped the attentions of Baron Haussmann and the ramshackle, rustic charm of the vast majority of the places in which Picasso lived, painted and partied during these years survives relatively unchanged to this day.
Visitors will encounter the sites, scenes and characters – friends, rivals, women and patrons – that inspired the young Spaniard and set him on the path to becoming the greatest artist of the 20th century.
There will be the tales of romantic intrigue that inspired the Blue and Rose Periods; find out who was brave enough to give Picasso his first exhibition, and see the Moulin de la Galette through Picasso’s eyes; the secrets behind some of his most beloved paintings, and his arrest in connection with the theft of “Mona Lisa.”
How he paid for his drinks at the Lapin Agile, why his masterpiece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon remained rolled up and neglected in his studio for years. Also the endless nights at Bateau-Lavoir – so decrepit it creaked and rocked in the wind like the laundry boats that lined the Seine, hence its nickname: the Washing Boat – where conversations passed between Picasso and Gertrude Stein as she sat for her portrait, and the complicity he shared with Georges Braque as they worked side by side on Cubist paintings that neither signed.
From €1,330 for two per night, Picasso’s Montmartre experience includes: One-night stay in a room or suite for two people American breakfast, including Cédric Grolet pastries Two-hour expert guided tour.