Since the beginning of history, kings, emperors, aristocrats, architects, writers, fashion designers… have chosen Paris as home. The walls of the apartments or palaces they once lived in, still exudes refinment, glamour, distniguished architecture… and mainly a unique history.
Let’s get into one of time capsules and travel to the past to discover the intriguing history of three Parisian apartments/ Palaces.
The Elysee, the home of the king’s mistress
Frensh politicians compete each five years to immortalize their names and be one of the residents of the Elysee’s Palace. However, this emblematic palace has enjoyed its fame years before being chosen as the French president residence.
In 1718, when comte d’Evreux assigned the architect Armand-Claude Mollet to build the Elysee hotel, he couldn’t have imagined what
Built and decorated between 1718 and 1722, the Hotel was built according to the architectural principles in vogue at the time. It remains one of the best examples of the classic model.
Madamde Pampadour, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, who was king Louis XV mistress, acquired the hotel in 1753 after the death of the Count of Evreux. The Marquise de Pompadour had an undeniable influence on the flourishing of French arts. She instructed Lassurance, her favorite architect, to change the order of Chambre de Parade and rearrange the first floor.
After La Pampadour, the official royal mistress, the Elysee was inhabited and owned by numerous people, aristocrats of course; Bourbon Duchess, France’s Marshal Joaquim Murat, the prince-president Louis Napoleon… each of which has left a visible architectural legacy.
Since its creation in the XVIII century, the Elysee Palace has perhaps seen the largest number of tenants. In addition to the princes, the favorites, it housed in total two emperors and 23 presidents of the republic.
And the whole world is eager to know who is going to be the next resident of the Elysee, after 2017 presidential elections.
Coco Chanel Apartment at Rue Combon
Moving to a more recent era, Coco Chanel apartment at 31 Rue Cambon remains of an irrisistible charm for celebrties and folks alike!
The building is still maintaned as Gabrielle Chanel originally set it up. On the ground floor you’ll have access to Chanel’s ready to wear. The first floor is an area reserved for Haute Couture, where Gabrielle Chanel received her clients and organized her fashion shows. Today this space has been completely redecorated by Karl Lagerfeld.
The second floor and the private apartments of Gabrielle Chanel are accessed by an art deco staircase adorned with hundreds of mirrors. They offer a panoramic view of the whole of the first and the ground floor. The well-known designer took the habit of sitting there (on the 5th step) to observe the lower floors without being seen, practical to watch the reactions of the spectators during the shows! (just like in the photo 😉
Once you arrive in the private apartment … It would even appear that we can still feel No. 5 floating in the air … For the anecdote, the attendants were instructed to perfume the rooms before the arrival of Coco every morning ..
Among the treasures that can be found in this temple of refinement: the magnificent Venetian mirrors of the dining room, a sublime ancient Chinese blue vase and the famous chandelier with tassels in which hide the two intersecting Cs of the acronym Chanel, the number 5 and the G of Gabrielle …
No matter what i say about the charm, the talent and the refinment i’ve seen i felt at Coco’s apartment, it would never outweigh the real experience. Nothing compares walking on the steps of such talented woman at her time and maybe the centuries that follow.
Colette Apartment at Palais Royal
Forty-five years of Paris have not made me anything but a provincial in search of twenty districts and two banks of the river, of her lost province …
Althou the well-nown novelist, Colette, was famous for changing her residence every so often, it was pretty clear as well that she favored her apartment at Palais Royal mainly during her last years.
If we enter into the gardens of the Royal Palace by the narrow passage of the front porch, we find a plaque recalling that Colette lived her last years at the edge of the garden.
In fact, Colette lived twice at the Palais Royal. Passing from her attic under the arcades she called “the tunnel” to a much more spacious and brighter apartment in the floors overlooking the garden. The noble floor she envied so much.
Her apartment in the Palais Royal was kind of natural fit, but her unsatisfied demand kept pushing her to discover it from another angle, to move without moving, to sew and undo by changing her furniture and bed as much as possible.
Her bed, which she called her “raft”, slipped from one wall to the other. In front of her table-desk, the faithful “Le Fanal Bleu” illuminated the page of writing. This is where the legend of the “Lady of the Royal Palace” was born, who will pass the end of her life in this magical place.
This was a mere foretatse of the unique and intiguing history of apartments and residences that were occupied by celebrities in 3 different fields. If you know other historical apartments please share in the comments below 😉