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Paris Is Becoming One Big Monument to Two of Europe’s Richest Men

Billionaires Bernard Arnault and Francois Pinault are making their mark on the cityscape.
Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Place Vendome in Paris.

Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Place Vendome in Paris.

 Photographer: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

First they competed for handbags and haute couture. Now, two of Europe’s richest men are vying for the city of Paris itself.

French tycoons Bernard Arnault, 68, and Francois Pinault, 81, are jockeying for prestige with a flurry of construction projects across Paris that will reshape the city as a capital of luxury shopping and contemporary art. The building spree comes nearly 20 years after they fought for control of brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.