Hotel Pharoux – Rio’s First

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Louis Pharoux, born in Marseille, France, fought beside Napoleon and later decided to exile himself and rebuild his life in the tropics for political reasons.

Located near the Praça XV (back then called Largo do Paço), Rio de Janeiro’s first hotel was the Hotel Pharoux (1816-1959), built shortly after the Portuguese court came to Rio. The old pier at the water’s edge of the Largo do Paço was also given the name of the French soldier and businessman. The Cais Pharoux (seen here in a 1916 postcard), just like the hotel that sat beside it, revitalized the area.

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The undertaking of building the hotel with international standards practically created a new sector, and others followed suit in the decades that followed (like the famous Hotel dos Estrangeiros). Aside from good accomodations, the public was immediately won over by the excellent food and quality French wine on offer, making the Pharoux a true oasis of civilization and good taste in a rather brutal land, isolated from the world for centuries. – Source (PT)

By 1858, the hotel started to fall into disuse and Mr. Pharoux returned to France several years later, at which point it began to be used as a hospital. In 1959, the building was demolished to make way for the Perimetral overpass (which was recently demolished, too).

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