When the Nazis marched on Paris in 1939, many of people fled their homes and headed south to the free zone. The vast majority of these families would never see their houses and belongings again,and their family memories were lost to the ravages of World War 2. Decades later, one family has been given the opportunity to reclaim their home and legacy.
Many years after her passing, the family of Madame De Florian discovered that she been paying rent on the very same Paris apartment that she had fled when she was young. Someone was immediately sent to inspect the property, and what they found shook them to the core.
Madame de Florian was just 23 years old when she fled her Paris home in 1939.
The Germans were advancing on the city and they had to leave everything behind.
She made her new home in the free zone, outside of Nazi-occupied France, but never returned to her old apartment.
It wasn’t until her death in 2010 that her family discovered that she had still been paying rent on the apartment her entire life. An auctioneer, Olivier Choppin-Janvry, was sent to inventory her abandoned home, and what he found was beyond their wildest dreams.
Inside the apartment they found priceless art and many other items that offer a very rare glimpse into the past.
Madame de Florian’s vanity mirror still waits for her, complete with lotions and potions of all sorts.
A vintage Mickey Mouse keeps Porky Pig company in one corner, waiting for a child to come play with them once more.
This stunning Belle Epoque-era painting of Madame de Florian’s mother Marthe was painted by the Italian legend Giovanni Boldini.
The painting of Boldini ended up selling for $3.4 million at auction. The juicy revelation that the two had been lovers strengthened interest in the piece.
The entire apartment is a lovely and tragic monument to a bygone era.
Take an in-depth tour of the apartment here:
That was like stepping into a time capsule. The old world really was beautiful wasn’t it? It’s such a shame that the war destroyed so much of it.
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