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Thread: Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years

  1. #1
    Elite Member hustle4alivin's Avatar
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    Default Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years

    Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII
    By LEON WATSON


    PUBLISHED: 04:39 EST, 12 May 2013 | UPDATED: 01:57 EST, 13 May 2013

    Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII | Mail Online

    Caked in dust and full of turn-of-the century treasures, this Paris apartment is like going back in time.

    Having lain untouched for seven decades the abandoned home was discovered three years ago after its owner died aged 91.
    The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.
    She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no-one had set foot inside.



    Back in time: The flat near the Trinité church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera





    The property was found near a church in the French capital's 9th arrondissement, between Pigalle red light district and Opera. Experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions which included a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.
    One expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900. 'There was a smell of old dust,' said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery.

    But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.
    The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist's former muse and Mrs de Florian’s grandmother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque.


    Under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini




    Untouched: The cobweb-filled flat was discovered in the 9th arrondissement of Paris






    Treasure trove: Behind the door, under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects, including the Boldini painting that sold for £1.78million












    When the owner died died aged 91, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions



    Mrs de Florian fled Paris before the outbreak of war in 1939, which saw the Nazis invade France and reach Paris on June 14. Pictured here, German officers and Parisians mingle near a sidewalk cafe on the Champs Elysees on Bastille Day in 1940


    Marthe de Florian was an actress with a long list of ardent admirers whose fervent love letters she kept wrapped neatly in ribbon and were still on the premises.
    Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, but also Boldini.


    The expert had a hunch the painting was by Boldini, but could find no record of the painting.


    'No reference book dedicated to Boldini mentioned the tableau, which was never exhibited,' said Marc Ottavi, the art specialist he consulted about the work.
    When Mr Choppin-Janvry found a visiting card with a scribbled love note from Boldini, he knew he had struck gold. 'We had the link and I was sure at that moment that it was indeed a very fine Boldini'.


    He finally found a reference to the work in a book by the artist's widow, which said it was painted in 1898 when Miss de Florian was 24.
    The starting price for the painting was £253,000 but it rocketed as ten bidders vyed for the historic work. Finally it went under the hammer for £1.78million, a world record for the artist.


    'It was a magic moment. One could see that the buyer loved the painting; he paid the price of passion,' said Mr Ottavi.




    Read more: Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII | Mail Online
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  2. #2
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm sure some of those belongings are worth a fortune!

    I want that dresser, btw.
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  3. #3
    Gold Member dilligaf's Avatar
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    I would kill to get in that flat!!

  4. #4
    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I WANT that vanity!
    MsDark likes this.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I weant to see everything on that vanity! What a treasure trove.
    MsDark likes this.
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    Amazing! Thanks for sharing this.
    hustle4alivin likes this.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    wow. i love stories like this. i would have loved to be there and be able to rummage through everything.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  8. #8
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    How could the lady leave a home like that and never go back?? It's not like she was exiled to the other side of the planet she was in the South of France! Why didn't she pack up her very valuable belongings and sell the apartment? This is the story I want to hear but I guess we'll never know.
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    Elite Member Str8_uncut-jock's Avatar
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    ^i agree. There surely is more to this. How does one "discover" an apartment that has been vacant for 70 years? Did the neighbors never notice that no one entered or exited the place...ever? I mean there had to be other people living in that building or near it or something. While I love the old artifacts, the antiques and the untouched aspects of it, something doesnt add up.

  10. #10
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I would have liked to be the one to walk into it the first time. It looks like they moved things around. I would have liked to see it untouched.

  11. #11
    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    I thought this story looked familiar.. I just googled it and this was published back in 2010 by the Telegraph. I would have loved to check this apartment out though and wholeheartedly agree that there is more to this story. Her things are much too nice to just abandon.
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

  12. #12
    Elite Member mtlebay's Avatar
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    ^^ Actually, I remember this story being posted in GR when it was first released.

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8_uncut-jock View Post
    ^i agree. There surely is more to this. How does one "discover" an apartment that has been vacant for 70 years? Did the neighbors never notice that no one entered or exited the place...ever? I mean there had to be other people living in that building or near it or something. While I love the old artifacts, the antiques and the untouched aspects of it, something doesnt add up.
    This! No landlords coming around for rent cheques (for renters) or tax bills (for owners)?? That's why stories like these don't come around so often, 'cos it's hard to. Although I do remember a story about a male who had died and in his home for a while and we were all scratching out heads with the same questions e.g. landlord for rent, bills/mail piling up in the mailbox, etc...
    Go Habs Go!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Str8_uncut-jock View Post
    ^i agree. There surely is more to this. How does one "discover" an apartment that has been vacant for 70 years? Did the neighbors never notice that no one entered or exited the place...ever? I mean there had to be other people living in that building or near it or something. While I love the old artifacts, the antiques and the untouched aspects of it, something doesnt add up.
    Plus, and correct me if I'm wrong, but even in France wouldn't somebody have to pay taxes on the property or else it would go up for auction for non-payment, just like here? Clearly no one paid maintenance/Condo fees? Do buildings in France not charge for this?

    This is...intriguing.

    Mrs. De Florian left before the Nazis marched into Paris in 1940 so it can't be traumatic association vis a vi a first hand memory of a conquering army in her neighborhood. Perhaps it was something personal--like a murder or suicide, or some romantic calamity? You know how melodramatic rich people can be--- but I still want to know by what reasoning the lady just ignored or forgot about property that clearly represents a great deal of money, not to mention the sentimental value. And the books! That is a tragedy, the books she left to moulder. Why no mention of the books? They are piled up everywhere. I hope they were salvaged?
    Last edited by Sasha; May 17th, 2013 at 06:43 AM.

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