Heritage at the movies
Heritage estates often impress us: grandiose, they recount a sumptuous past. And yet, whether prestigious museums or mythical châteaux with shady alleys, they... Endd out more
There are venues that touch you more than others, venues with a strong personality, marked by the imprint of those who lived there and shaped them. Private mansions, bourgeois houses, country manors turned palaces, in turn refuges or sources of inspiration, they all have in common that they let us into the intimacy of their owners, shedding new light on the little stories of the big story, the affinities that were born there and the passions that grew there.
On this day that celebrates love, we take you on a tour of our exceptional venues , witness to some of the most beautiful love stories at the crossroads of history, art and literature.
At first, he loved her passionately, while she rejected him. Then she adored him, but he was thinking of his Empire and his posterity. Napoleon and Josephine remain one of history's mythical couples, and Château de Malmaison the symbol of their tumultuous love.
They met at a social dinner and Bonaparte immediately fell in love with the beautiful Creole. Josephine remained cold but was seduced by the ardor and ambition of the young general with a promising future, who could provide her with the financial security she had lost in the throes of the Revolution. They got married in the spring of 1796. She cheated on him shamelessly but opened the doors of the most prominent salons and accompanied his meteoric rise.
In the spring of 1799, while Bonaparte was busy with his military conquests, Josephine fell under the spell of an old-fashioned little château on the outskirts of Paris, Château de Malmaison. Bonaparte, who could refuse her nothing, gave it to her as a gift, and she began major renovations to turn this country residence into a veritable palace, where her taste for the arts and luxury would find its most refined expression.
A place of power and sumptuous parties throughout the Consulate, Malmaison regained its calm after the coronation and the move of the imperial family to the Tuileries. Later, the estate became Josephine's refuge when she was unable to give him an heir and was forced to divorce the Emperor, who separated from her against his will and remained devoted to her for the rest of his life.
💡 We tell you about venues emblematic of Napoleon and Josephine's love affairs, unrivalled photogenic venues .
Having had the misfortune to displease Napoleon, Chateaubriand was forced into exile from Paris. In August 1807, he bought the Vallée-aux-Loups estate in the hamlet of Aulnay. Chateaubriand had the house renovated, and moved in with his wife. At La Vallée-aux-Loups, he wrote a lot, but also indulged his passion for gardening. He thus reconciled his aspirations with his daily life, and enjoyed creating the park at Vallée-aux-Loups, guided by his memories and travels.
In 1817, he met the beautiful Juliette Récamier. A prominent figure in the cultural life of the first half of the 19th century, famous throughout Europe for her beauty, Juliette Récamier was a model, patron, collector and initiator of a new taste, between neo-classicism and the beginnings of romanticism. A brilliant woman of spirit, she received in her salon all the Parisian elite and the greatest thinkers.
She became Chateaubriand's lover, friend and confidante and stayed at the Vallée-aux-Loups many times, even after the writer, faced with financial difficulties, was forced to sell the estate to a friend of Madame Récamier at the end of 1817. The estate of the Vallée-aux-Loups is a witness to the beginnings of this love which lasted 30 years and preserves today many memories and evocations of it.
Throughout her life, George Sand's house in Nohant, inherited from her paternal grandmother, was an essential anchor point for her. She spent a large part of her childhood in this 18th-century manor house in the heart of Berry, and later surrounded herself there with those who were dear to her: her children, her friends from Berry and Paris, including Franz Liszt, Honoré de Balzac, Eugène Delacroix, Pauline Viardot, Théophile Gautier, Gustave Flaubert...
Frédéric Chopin and George Sand met in the salons of Paris in 1839. The affair between the committed, free-spirited and passionate writer and the young Polish composer, exiled to Paris at the age of 20, became the talk of the town. Chopin suffered from tuberculosis, and George Sand took him to the Balearic Islands to regain his health, but the stay proved disastrous. They took refuge in Nohant. The quiet life in the countryside was to be a long, soothing period in which Chopin regained his health and hope. It was here that their genius blossomed. Chopin composed all the masterpieces of his maturity, and she wrote six major novels at night. Bonded by an extraordinary artistic complicity, the couple spent seven long summers in this privileged setting, which was conducive to creative activity.
1846 was to be Chopin's last summer together in Nohant before their separation. Returning to Paris, Chopin composed almost no more, before dying in 1849 at the age of 39. George Sand dedicated La Mare au diable to him.
Victor Hugo met Juliette Drouet in 1833, when she played the role of Princesse Négroni in the play Lucrèce Borgia. They became lovers, even though the writer was married. The young actress soon gave up her career and devoted her life to him. She was both his collaborator and inspiration. They wrote thousands of passionate letters to each other, in which she demonstrated a real talent for writing.
While Victor Hugo is forced to go into exile with his family in Brussels, Jersey and Guernsey following the coup d'état of December 1851, Juliette follows her lover who systematically installs her near his place of residence. After the death of Adèle, Victor Hugo's wife, Juliette shares more of the writer's life. She died in May 1883 after 50 years of devotion.
Juliette Drouet never lived at the Hôtel de Rohan Guéméné, now the Maison de Victor Hugo, where the writer, his wife and their 4 children lived for 16 years (1832 -1848), yet this apartment with its singular atmosphere retains many traces of this faithful lover. For example, the Gothic dining room and the iconic Chinese salon now found on the 2nd floor of 4 place des Vosges come from Hauteville Fairy, Juliette's home in Guernsey. These sumptuous decorations are the work of Victor Hugo himself who, as well as being a brilliant writer and a committed politician, was also a talented decorator.
Now the headquarters of the Association France-Amérique, the Hôtel Le Marois was built in 1863 by Comte Le Marois, a great art lover and collector and son of General Le Marois, Napoleon 1st's illustrious best man at his marriage to Joséphine de Beauharnais.
This magnificent Second Empire building has an irresistible hint of romanticism about it: it stands on the site of a Private Mansion inhabited by Marie Duplessis, a courtesan renowned for her beauty and wit, who ran a salon popular with the Parisian business and arts world of the time. Alexandre Dumas shared a feverish love affair with her between 1844 and 1845, and drew inspiration from it for his novel La Dame aux Camélia, which he wrote a few months after the young woman's untimely death. Shortly afterwards, Verdi set Dumas' novel to music and turned it into one of the world's most successful operas, La Traviata.
It was at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs thatItalian architect Gio Ponti befriended Tony Bouilhet, heir to Christofle. The Bouilhet family entrusted Gio Ponti with the construction of their country house on the hill of Saint-Cloud, then a testing ground for modernist architects such as Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret.
Gio and Tony were thinking of calling the villa the Saint-Cloudienne, when something happened to change the course of events. One of the architect's nieces by marriage, Carla Borletti, only eighteen at the time, came to Paris with her father on a business trip. Gio introduced her to Tony. It was love at first sight: they married a year later, in September 1928. For Ponti, an angel had flown into Tony's life, so the villa was eventually christened Villa l'Ange Volant.
L'Ange volant is the only villa built in France by the celebrated Milanese architect and designer, and is one of his masterpieces.
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