It was a discovery that captured the imagination of Paris, an untouched piece of its history nestled deep within today’s bustling and brightly lit city streets.
3 years ago a Parisian apartment located on Right Bank (not far from the famous Opéra Garnier) had been left dormant for 68 years. It was originally owned by a lady called Madame de Florian, who was an affluent Parisian socialite and actress. During the second World War, with the Nazi’s merely a few kilometres away, she quickly fled to the South of France, leaving her entire life, apartment and belongings behind.
For reasons unknown, she never returned to her beloved home and yet continued to pay the rent right up until she passed away aged 91.
Since that time the apartment remained untouched, until one day auctioneer Olivier Choppin-Janvry ventured into the building itself. What he found was a perfectly preserved home, complete with traditional high wooden ceilings, rich tapestries, a quaint wood stove and more than few taxidermy animals.
One of the more significant findings, was a painting of a beautiful French women by artist Giovanni Boldini. At the time, nobody knew who the women in the painting was, until another discovery was made. Several handwritten love notes from Boldini to Madame de Florian were found in the room, confirming that it was in fact her in the painting, the personal muse of the artist himself.
Her home is now in the trust of her estate and currently is closed to the public – that many change one day, but in the meantime these captivating photographs will provide a glimpse into an era long since forgotten.
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