Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Every heart comes home for the holidays

Or do they?

Knowing I love all things French, a client and dear friend sent me this article (reproduced courtesy of the Telegraph Media Group).

Parisian flat containing a €2.1 million painting remained untouched for 70 years
Mrs. de Florian never returned to her Paris flat after the war and died at the age of 91
Behind the door, under a thick layer of dust lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.

The woman who owned the flat had left for the South of France before the Second World War and never returned.

But when she died recently, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions in a flat in Paris....for the full article please click on - Parisian flat untouched for 70 years

I couldn't believe what I was reading. Of course the first question that came to mind was how could an apartment go untouched for 70 years without something going wrong with it? Was there never a plumbing leak? A  broken window? Birds nesting in the chimney? Pesky critters? I can't imagine 70 years of deferred maintenance on my own home....it would truly be uninhabitable!

But then my mind wondered to the apartment and what an amazing sight it must have been. The mystery behind the occupant and the possessions within. I would love to know the full story - what would have possessed this lady of high society to leave and never come back, it's not like the South of France is all that far from Paris! There were children - why didn't they know about the apartment? What was she hiding? Maybe she wasn't! Like all good mysteries, I don't think we will ever know.

As a child I spent my days exploring the great outdoors of my home town, Lake Oswego. One summer I stumbled across an abandoned "cottage" on the other side of the railroad tracks. The cottage was buried under mile high blackberry bushes and was barely intact. I spent that summer wondering about that small house - who had lived there, when was it built, why and when was it abandoned? I made up stories about the hypothetical family who lived there. I even named the cottage, Blackburn, from my maiden name Black. I had so much fun!

The article on the Parisian flat brought me back to those memories. Merci Lisa!

Homes have a unique way of pulling us in and allowing us to weave a story so great in our heads that our hearts soar. Perhaps this is one more reason I love residential real estate!

Until next week,

la chasse au bonheur


  1. Nice story. We all love a mystery.

  2. All I can ever this is who was paying the bill for this? There must be property taxes. Or rent. For 70 years?! And it looks like a beautiful flat. What a waste. But it makes for a great story. I wonder what the painting would have sold for if it hadn't been found in the way it was. If the money went to the estate I'd guess they made up the taxes and then some.