Christian Louboutin has always had a particular relationship with his surroundings, including his Paris home, located near the Opéra. The sprawling residence, perched on the top floor of a building that houses a law office, a baguette sandwich shop, and a cobbler, is like a well-worn passport, a time capsule of his adventures.
There, Louboutin lives among a menagerie of artifacts: Egyptian chairs inscribed with hieroglyphics, feathered headdresses from the Amazon, masks and spirit dolls from the Hopi and Zuni tribes of North America, and a fireplace he imported from Iran, all reminders of places he has visited to widen his view of the world. “Traveling makes you understand that you should not think that you are always right,” Louboutin says. “You may think you know, but you don’t.”
In fact, it was a terrible mistake that led him to this address. In the early days of his business—his empire of red soles is about to celebrate its 25th year—Louboutin lived in a modest apartment behind his original store on rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau. But once his designs became an international sensation—popularized on the red carpet by Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, and Kate Winslet in the early 2000s—he sought something more opulent.
It took three years to find the perfect place: a magnificent painter’s studio in the ninth arrondissement with 26-foot ceilings and a wall of glass windows. As Louboutin was about to sign the contract, his business partner, Bruno Chamberlain, reviewed it and discovered that due to the complexities of French real estate law, Louboutin was trying to purchase an apartment in which he could not legally live on certain days of the week. Louboutin was so distraught, he says, “I thought, at this point, I’ll move to Beirut.”
Luckily, a friend intervened and took up the hunt, eventually discovering Louboutin’s current space, then in a state of disrepair. Its reconstruction took nearly three years and involved transforming a warren of small rooms into a massive suite under a vaulted ceiling, creating an enormous master suite with a walk-in closet that resembles the inside of a luxury train car, and installing a sky-lit marble spa. Of course, there is still not nearly enough storage for all his shoes, with as many as 200 pairs lined up double file along the walls of his bedroom and bathroom. Click the photo above to take a closer look.