Cultural Services of the French Embassy Tours
10:00 am
11:00 am
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
Stanford White, 1909

One of the few remaining urban mansions of the Gilded Age, the Payne Whitney Mansion was commissioned in 1902 by Oliver Hazard Payne, for his nephew, Payne Whitney, on the occasion of his marriage to Helen Hay. Stanford White, of the prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, designed the mansion in the style of a high Italian Renaissance palazzo. A jealous husband assassinated him before construction was completed in 1909. Since 1952, France has owned the mansion. In 1970, it was deemed an official landmark of the City of New York. With a grand entrance hall and stairway and ornate marble reception halls, the mansion transports visitors to another epoch. Today, it is home to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine bookstore.

Through Advance Reservation tours as well as Open Access hours, visitors will have access to the first three floors of the French Embassy's Payne Whitney Mansion, a rare example of Gilded Age architecture in New York. Highlights include a replica of the Young Archer, attributed to Michelangelo in 1997; the Venetian Room, which features an exquisite handcrafted porcelain flowers and European antique furniture; Albertine Books, the French bookstore located within the Cultural Services, with interiors conceived by acclaimed French designer Jacques Garcia that includes a hand-painted mural on its second floor; the gilded, mirrored doors of the Marble Reception Room and adjacent Ballroom; Autumn (1902), an original stained glass window by John La Farge, American painter, muralist, and stained glass window-maker; and Artists’ Time, a selection of works by France-based artists Davide Balula, Gilles Barbier, Valérie Belin, Marc Desgrandchamps, Thomas Fougeirol, Emmanuel Régent, Sophie Ristelhueber, Barthélémy Toguo, Jacques Villeglé, and Marine Wallon, currently on loan from French galleries as part of partnership between the French Embassy and the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d’Art network.

Saturday Tour Info: Intimate guided tours will be offered before the building’s Open Access hours begin, and will last approximately 30-45 min.
Access Notes: No food or drink is allowed in the Albertine bookstore.


Reservations for guided tours at this site are now sold out. But we have good news: it will also feature Open Access hours in the afternoon, from 2-6pm, with self-guided tours that require no reservations! Click here to check out the site’s Open Access listing.


Image credit: Marc Ben Fatma / CC BY-SA 4.0