This Paris Apartment Sat Abandoned, Hiding a Secret Affair, for 70 Years
Trending| | By Brian Delpozo
What if we told you there was a Parisian apartment that was previously owned by a woman romantically linked to numerous world leaders? An apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and sat locked up and abandoned for 70 years? You’d think we were describing a thriller or romance novel. However, while it may sound unbelievable, it’s actually a true story with twists on par with the best works of fiction.
The apartment was once owned by Madame Marthe de Florian, a French actress who didn’t find much success in her her chosen profession. However, she had a knack for getting involved with powerful men, including French prime ministers Georges Clemenceau and Pierre Waldeck-Rousseau and French presidents Paul Deschanel and Gaston Doumergue. Due in part to her social connections, de Florian lived a swanky Paris lifestyle, living in numerous high-profile Paris apartments, including one at 2, Square La Bruyère.
That apartment ended up being the last place Marthe de Florian resided, as she passed away there in 1939. The dwelling was passed down to her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, who lived in the apartment for an indeterminate amount of time before fleeing Paris to avoid Nazi forces. After the war, Beaugiron remained in the south of France and never returned to the Paris apartment, though the rent and utilities were paid on schedule until her death in 2010.
Upon Beaugiron’s passing, the apartment was opened up for the first time in at least 50 years, possibly near 70, and the contents were astounding. For starter’s, every inch of the place appeared to be frozen in time to pre-World War II, carrying the air of European aristocracy and culture that was wiped out prior to the war.
There also was a much more personal discovery. A painting of Marthe de Florian was found, as were numerous love letters confirming that the actress had carried on a long-running love affair with noted Italian painter and artist Giovanni Boldin. She served as his muse. The discovery sent major ripples through the art world, and Boldin’s portrait of de Florian found in the apartment sold for millions.
Of all the mysteries solved by the find, one remains unknown: No one can provide an answer as to why Solange Beaugiron never returned to the apartment after the war, yet continued paying rent on an empty apartment in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
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