stepping back in time

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1942 ‘Time Capsule’ Apartment Discovered In Paris

Have you seen this?
Well, even if you have, I bet you won’t mind touring it again with me, right?

This story is absolutely amazing (but sad, too). It involves a deserted apartment in Paris left isolated for 70+ years. Seventy plus years, I can’t imagine. The beautifully preserved space, which belonged to the granddaughter of the late Parisian socialite and actress Marthe de Florian, was paid for, month after month over the course of numerous decades, yet no one ever returned to it, leaving it not only unoccupied, but also completely untouched.

The story goes like this: Once upon a time in 1942, a young Parisian woman fearing Nazi persecution fled to Southern France, leaving behind a lavish apartment in Paris. Fast forward 70 years, this hidden treasure trove of artwork and antiques have been exposed for the first time. If you aren't already sitting down, I suggest you take a seat… this is going to be great.

It seems that the owner of the apartment died three years ago at the age of 91, which is when the owner’s executor sent a team to investigate the apartment she left behind. They found a wonderfully-preserved and sumptuous Parisian apartment filled with beautiful antiques and artwork.

Within this apartment, one piece stood out from the rest of the artistic and historic relics – 19th-century Italian painter Giovanni Boldini’s portrait of his muse, Marthe de Florian (the grandmother of the owner). In the painting, this famous Parisian socialite and actress is depicted wearing a beautiful and revealing pink dress. The painting was painted in 1888, when de Florian was just 24 years old. It is by the love notes and letters between de Florian and Boldini found at the apartment that the woman in the painting has been identified. The painting itself has been valued at roughly $3.4 million. Breathtaking...

It was during World War II that the owner initially fled her opulent abode in an effort to escape the Nazi raid. Never to return to her home, which is now deemed a Parisian "Time Capsule" apartment, the luxurious woman's heirs decided to make an inventory of her apartment when they discovered its preserved interior and the many treasures inside. The apartment, which proved to be as rich with possessions as it is with secrets, is currently closed off to the public, though some speculate that may change.<Fingers Crossed>

I so enjoy just sitting and studying these photos that we have been honored to have shared with us (just these few so far): Imagine spending a Parisian evening in the 1940's with the young socialite and her companions right here in this gorgeous room. Do you think she might have been a collector… maybe paintings, porcelain figurines, jewelry, silver service? Of course, it is most likely that she used the silver pieces as everyday service. Imagine the sights seen through those beautiful large leaded glass windows. Look at the craftsmanship on the woodwork in the ceiling, on the legs and back of the chairs (especially the one being used as an easel for that landscape painting). Look at the multitude of legs underneath the main table (what lies under that tablecloth?) And don’t even get me started on the fireplace… I think I get heart palpitations every time I just glance at the mantle. Look at those ornate sconces (and matching chandelier) on each side of the large mirror above the mantle… imagine the glow that illuminated throughout the room every evening when those amazing pieces of glass art were lit. Wish I could get a better look at that sculpture (hidden behind the chandelier in this shot) legs crossed, standing on the mantle….  And those two cabinets (one on each side of the room)... chocked full of goodies!

Let’s start at the top of this photo and work our way down, shall we… if I can stay conscience: I believe this is most likely a shot of her bedroom (close up of the first shot in the post), what do you think? Look at the gorgeous crown molding… just look at the corners of it. (There’s a closer look at one of those sconces that match those above the other fireplace!) Look at the wallpaper - quality and texture - Silk, of course… but look how luxurious and thick! (see the thickness on the piece as it's peeling off the wall - there might even be layers of other wall coverings underneath, oh my) Don’t you wish you could just take a little peak out that window? Look at the beautiful detail in the needlepoint upholstery on the backs and seats of those two chairs… and an amazingly thick music book – really? Swoooon… Looks like there might be a whole pile of music books right there behind that chair, leaning against the upholstered fire screen. I wonder what published year we would find on them? And a marble fireplace… Imagine a roaring fire there and we had nothing else to do but just curl up with a lovely book (and maybe a really beautiful crystal flute filled with exquisite French wine, hhmmmmmm)… Look at those two large vases on the mantle – bet they are in perfect condition. (I think know I could find a place for that rug in my house – wonder what size it is?)

This photo is, of course, the other side of that same room. You can see the reflection of the peeling wallpaper in that breathtaking mirror. Seriously, imagine a young Parisian beauty standing in front of it, deep in thought, robed in an amazing gown dripping in jewels… and there, on the top of that mirror, more of those gorgeous lights… wow! Oh and look… books, upon books, upon books, upon books – piled on the rolling cart, on the floor; against the dressing table in the background... wonder what she read to occupy her time? Look at the portrait propped in the burned out velvet upholstered chair, perfect. Wonder who the subject is – maybe someone she knew? Can anyone figure out exactly what the tall black metal looking thing is that is reflected in the mirror? (you can see just a bit of it in the previous photo too) Looks like it has a audio horn on it - maybe a record player of some sort?
Ok, try this photo on your own: I am just going to let you look… study… think… and enjoy, let your imagination go wild. Afterall, that is the best part of peaking into this unbelievable apartment. Please, take in all the details (remember Design is… All in the Detail) let your mind absorb it all. I promise you will be transported back to Paris 1942 within moments. (I bet those are 1942 Parisian newspapers over there to the left – ooops, sorry – couldn’t help myself)
Here is the final photo (darn it): Once again, just take your time looking at it, enjoy the details. If you look hard enough, I bet you can even stir up the musty smell of the ostrich and stuffed animals. All of this opulence and there, in the middle of it all, is Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse – now remember, she was a young Parisian woman who feared the Nazis (...but I guess she loved Mickey Mouse).

If anyone knows the original source of these photos and information, please let me know. I want to first, give credit where credit is due and second, read the original information of the amazing find! Thank you.