Here in Paris this morning, a major fire broke out at the legendary Ritz Paris at 6 am. Photos on social media depicted the top floor and roof in flames. The five-star palace hotel is currently empty of guests as it undergoes a major restoration. The debut was scheduled just six weeks from today, as fans around the world have waited with bated breath to see the results of a top-to-bottom overhaul that’s lasted a few years. (The project has cost over €200 million and includes a new Chanel spa, the first of its kind for a hotel.)
RFI reports that 15 fire engines were dispatched, and 60 firefighters worked to put out the blaze, as people were evacuated from the area around the Place Vendôme. The Independent reports that a fire service spokesman says “a large part of the five-star hotel was affected.” There’s no information yet available about the damage done to the hotel, which first opened its doors on June 1, 1898 and is owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed.