Go to any auction sale in Paris and you can find something of interest, but a visit to Hôtel Drouot at No. 9 on the road of the same name (in the 9th) takes you to auction heaven. As soon as you walk through the large glass doors of the entrance you know you’re somewhere special. A spacious, airy hall leads you to the various floors where the auction rooms are located and the doors are all open so the public can view the wonders to be auctioned off in the coming days.
Ancient objects, bronze statues, chandeliers, paintings, and other precious items of furniture from an estate sale are displayed in Room 7. In Room 12 the glass cases are filled with precious stones and your eye is naturally drawn to the incredible diamonds on display. In Room 10, urban and contemporary works of art attract the curious. Aficionados engage in conversation with the staff from the auctioneers’ office, which organizes the auction sale, to gain information on the period and provenance of the various works.
Dior Outfit for €60
In Room 5, an Hermès auction sale is being set up, with a display of clothing, jewelry, and vintage bags by the luxury brand. Eclecticism reigns at Drouot. Room 6 has a display of tribal masks and artifacts where an African ceremonial mask and a copper warrior’s shield spark your imagination. Further in, you’ll find a statuette of a ram and, on the back wall, a large panel presents dozens of votive statues. Yellow, green, red—a plethora of primary colors light up the eyes of the lesser gods. Room 8 has fashion accessories and clothes by the great couturiers on auction. An enticing display includes a Dior outfit and a Christian Lacroix or Yves Saint Laurent jacket at €50 or €60.
Going, Going, Gone!
Along the corridor, you’re be drawn to another room, where an auction sale of antique fans is underway. You stop to watch as two auctioneers skillfully raise the bidding. A fine fan of painted feathers dating from the end of the 19th century is shown to the public. The auctioneer holding the gavel is standing on a dais and urging the bidders on. Bidding starts at a very low €60, and a woman at the back of the room raises her hand. The other auctioneer moves around the room handing out the vouchers needed to collect the lots. Another hand is raised. “70 euros! Any more bids? No? It’s yours for 70 euros.” The gavel hits the side of the desk to award the fan to one very satisfied and smiling bidder.
A Drouot auction sale in Paris will suit all budgets, from the fan at €70 to the work of art at €500,000. Want to try your luck at the auction sale? It couldn’t be easier. Visit the auction house or the website of the Hôtel Drouot to select the sale that interests you and register. On the day of the sale, you can bid (oh the excitement!) in the auction room, or from home via the Internet. All of that means one thing: no more excuses!