Palacio Paz was the home of José Clemente Paz (2 October 1842 – 10 March 1912) He was a statesman, diplomat and journalist, and also the founder of the newspaper “la Prensa”.
He was born in Buenos Aires but had to move to Rosario because of the civil war in Argentina. He was being shot at because he shouted “Viva Buenos Aires!” but managed to save himself by jumping into the Parana river and swimming to the Buenos Aires ships that brought him back to his beloved city. He was only 16 at that time.
He joined the forces commanded by Mitre, and at the end of the war he entered politics. He started to study law while working for the party of Adolfo Alsina. During the war of the Triple Alliance, in 1865, he founded the Society for the protection of Invalids, and the Hospice for the invalids. He set up a newspaper, El invalido Argentino. Later, on 18th of october 1869 he founded La Prensa, which during the 1st half of the 20th century, was the most important newspaper in the country. In 1871 he organised a charity to help the people with Yellow Fever. He was also an important ‘estanciero’, which was the main source of his income.
In became a diplomat in Madrid in 1883 and in Paris in 1885. Between 1893 and 1900 he lived in Argentina where he started building this Palacio, although that year he moved to Monaco where he died in 1912. He was burried in the cimetary of Recoleta, in a grand mausoleum with an impressive sculpture by Jules-Felix Coutan.
The palace was designed by the French architect Luis Sortais, the construction began in 1902 and ended in 1914. With its 6154 m2 it is still the largest private house ever built in Argentina. The architectural style is inspired by the Palais du Louvre, the inside by the Palais the Versailles. All the materials are brought in from Europe. The story goes that Mr Jose C Paz was hoping to become president of the country so the house was designed to be a presidential palace. Unfortunately he died before he could ever become candidate, and of course we will never know if he could have made a chance to actually become president. Moreover, he died before the house was ready. His widow moved in with his kids, but she died 4 years after him. His son and his wife lived there until 1938, the year when the palace was sold. They had no children.
In 1938 the house was bought by the Circulo Militar. This is a club founded in 1880 in order to strengthen the ties and friendships between the different institutions of the Army and the Navy. They organised lectures, published monthly magazines and newspapers. Now it is a Club accessible to everyone, civilians or military, as long as you are presented by members, if you are accepted, and of course, if you pay the fee.
It is a magnicifent and grand ‘house’, which merits the name “Palacio”, and it is definetely worth a visit.
There are tours every Wednesday and Thursday (in English), and every Tuesday and Friday at 11h and at 15h, Saturdays at 11h, (in Spanish). $20 for residents and $35 for non residents. It is rented out to give wedding or other parties.
Avenida Santa Fe 750
(NB the pictures are taken in an around Palacio Paz, as well as in the Cimentario de Recoleta (his Mausoleum).