If you were elected President of France (or staged a coup and became the next Emperor), there is a warehouse full of valuable antique furniture just waiting to decorate your personal digs.
A sprawling Art Deco reinforced concrete building, casually tucked away in the quiet backstreets of Parisâ€™ 13th arrondissement, has been guarding the furnishings of government buildings and royal residences since the dawn of the Second World Warâ€¦
Behind its bunker-thick walls, youâ€™ll find everything from the 82 foot-long 17th century carpet that was saved from the Notre Dame blaze, airing out in the main reserve, to a selection of 20th century presidential desks that reflect the changing tastes of each decade and leader.
When a new President comes into office, this is where theyâ€™ll come to decide what kind of furniture he (and hopefully one day, she) would like to decorate the ElysÃ©e with.
A large inventory of Napoleonâ€™s foot stools sit under plastic sheeting beside a pre-revolutionary collection of royal vases crated away and carefully inventoried on industrial shelving. In the basement, you might find a stack a French flag poles and red carpets waiting to be pulled out of storage for Bastille Day or for the Queen of Englandâ€™s next visit.
At the same time as carefully conserving over 130,000 decorative items; the reserveâ€™s mission is also to restore and manufacture. The site is home to numerous artisanal workshops, where some of the nationâ€™s finest craftsmen are busy at work, entrusted with fixing the minor wear and tear on an antique commode from a government waiting room to restoring priceless works of art rescued from beneath the collapsing roof of a national landmark.