Paris Is Becoming One Big Monument To Two Of Europe’s Richest Men

by MR Magazine Staff

First they competed for handbags and haute couture. Now, two of Europe’s richest men are vying for the city of Paris itself. French tycoons Bernard Arnault, 68, and Francois Pinault, 81, are jockeying for prestige with a flurry of construction projects across Paris that will reshape the city as a capital of luxury shopping and contemporary art. The building spree comes nearly 20 years after they fought for control of brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. On the banks of the Seine, Arnault’s LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton is two years into a renovation of the Samaritaine department store reportedly costing 500 million euros ($591 million) that will see part of the Art Deco landmark converted into a Cheval Blanc luxury hotel. A five-minute walk away, Pinault, whose family controls the rival luxury group Kering, is racing to renovate a historic former commodities exchange to exhibit part of his collection of contemporary art.  Both projects were designed by Japanese architects who have won the Pritzker Prize, and both are slated to be finished by the end of next year. The men or their companies are pursuing other developments as well, ranging from new stores to corporate or brand headquarters. Read more at Bloomberg.