The History of Paris House
Paris House was originally built in 1878 as part of The Paris International Exhibition called ‘The Streets of Nations’ and located on the Rue des Nations (next to the Quai d’Orsay) in Paris. It was boarded on each side by 28 pavillions representing 28 countries. The house, designed by Gilbert Redgrave and built by William Cubitt & Son, was based on the Renaissance half-timbered architecture of the Cheshire region of England and was erected in prefabricated sections of the Tudor style and pegged together. The 9th Duke of Bedford fell in love with the building, had it dismantled, shipped piece by piece to its current home and rebuilt in the stunning grounds of Woburn Park.
On arrival at Woburn the building was mainly used as accommodation for staff. Duchess Mary Russell of Bedford, the wife of the 11th Duke, also used it as a hospital and it soon became affectionately known locally as the ‘Tonsil Hospital’. The Duchess, known as “The High Flying Duchess” because of her passion for planes, invited a pilot who had rescued her when she crashed her plane in to the desert, to use the house for accommodation. He lived there until 1937 when, at the age of 71, The Duchess disappeared after leaving Woburn Abbey in a De Havilland Gipsy Moth plane, which crashed into the North Sea.
During the second World War the house played host to many notable guests. During this time Paris House welcomed The Queen Mother’s brother, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (as she was then), General de Gaulle and Dennis Sefton Delmer – Director of Special Operations during the war and the first British journalist to interview Adolph Hitler.
In the years that followed, Paris House enjoyed a colourful culinary history. In 1983 it was acquired by Peter Chandler, the first English apprentice to celebrated chefs Albert and Michel Roux.
The 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group purchased Paris House at the end of 2009 and is drawing from its rich Parisienne past creating a unique restaurant in a building first erected in the capital of gastronomy.
The new Paris House opened on the 10th February 2010 and its identity echoes the birthplace and era of the structure’s individual past. Alan and the team are privileged to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the late Peter Chandler who formerly ran Paris House and built its reputation on superb French cuisine. In January 2011, just 11 months after opening, the restaurant under Head Chef Phil Fanning was awarded a Michelin-star.
We are delighted to offer guests an exciting new menu that encompasses the classics but with a modern, fine-food twist. In addition, the new Paris House now boasts an intimate private dining suite and a unique Chef’s Table situated in the heart of the kitchen for those guests who like to be in the centre of the action.
We look forward to welcoming you to the new Paris House and trust that you will enjoy the experience as much as we are.
The team at Paris House would like to thank Ann Mitchell, Archivist at Woburn Abbey for her assistance compiling the history.