“Standing on the landing of the monumental Mollien double staircase built in stone and bronze, with a labyrinth of the finest art galleries in the world stretching ahead of you; the most spectacular, never-ending view over the Tuileries Gardens at your back, and the haunting soul of the nearby Mona Lisa floating through the air… what more could you ask for?” Mathieu Lehanneur.

Located in the Denon Wing of the Louvre Museum, the Café Mollien reopens its doors after a one-month closure for remodeling. Managed by Areas[1] and redesigned by Mathieu Lehanneur, the Café is a new venue linking the Carrousel and the Tuileries Gardens with the Louvre and its collection of masterpieces. In this monumental setting of 150m², with its vertiginous ceilings and marble tiled floor punctuated by massive columns, the designer has succeeded in creating a prestigious cafe on a human scale.

Areas provides a unique, customized catering experience for visitors to museums and prestigious sites. Areas works hand-in-hand with internationally renowned professionals, such as architects and chefs, to promote and contribute to the success of exceptional venues. A partner of the Louvre Museum for some thirty years, Elior Group endeavors to enhance the visitor’s cultural experience.

After designing the Café ArtScience in Boston, which is currently in the running for the “outstanding bar” award in the US[2], Mathieu Lehanneur went on to tackle the remodeling of the Café Mollien in the Louvre, the most prestigious monument and museum in Paris. Café Mollien comprises an L-shaped dining room and a 230 m2 terrace offering the best view of the Louvre Pyramid. Inside, 66 seats are arranged around a magnificent brushed-brass, acrylic lighting structure, with organic-like extensions stretching up to 4.5 meters high. The designer describes these as "three, large pale-pink eggs; luminous and translucent, floating in space and inhabiting the void that separates us from the ceiling, and act as a signal in the Parisian perspective.

In the alcoves of the tall historic windows, the presence of lacquered wooden benches upholstered in fabric alongside mat-white furniture, is almost “blasphemous in this palace of color”, and seems to set and accentuate the rhythm of the space. The white of the furniture is also echoed in the marble of the 10-meter long bar at the entrance.

Throughout his various assignments, notably in the Church of Melle (UNESCO World Heritage) and the Château Borely in Marseilles, and his next mission within the context of the complete remodeling of the Grand Palais in Paris[3], Lehanneur has proven his ability to re-examine and update the iconic monuments of our heritage.


[1] the global catering concession brand of Elior Group

[2] Café ArtScience Boston, US, is on the list of finalists for Outstanding Bar Program at the James Beard Foundation, US.

[3] Lehanneur won the international competition for the restructuring of the Grand Palais, including the National Galleries and the Palais de la Découverte. Project won in partnership with the LAN Architecture agency.