A few years ago this apartment was discovered in Paris. It had been left untouched for 70 years. Inside this apartment was a slew of treasures including this painting by Giovanni Boldini, one of Paris’ most important painters of the Belle Époque, and known as the “Master of Swish.”
Definitely a very swishy dress. As if this story isn’t already amazing, the painting is that of the grandmother of the apartment dweller, Marthe de Florian, an actress/socialite/fancy prostitute depending on what article you read about her. And if THAT isn’t amazing enough, the painting sold at auction for $3 million.
Since the discovery, two books have been written. They are both fictional accounts of what could have been the back story behind Marthe de Florian.
In A Paris Apartment, our Marthe de Florian left a journal detailing life during the Belle Époque in which she lived. In The Paris Time Capsule a letter is discovered detailing what happened. Both books spent a lot of time in the present day so I spent a lot of time scanning. I just wanted to read about the olden days. I don’t really care about some modern day fairy tale.
What I want to know is why her granddaughter left the apartment so suddenly in 1940 to never return. Likely because of the war and the German occupation. She zipped down to the south of France and never came back to Paris. What did she get up to there?
In my mind she either A:
Fell in love with a mushroom hunter. He had flat feet (which is why he wasn’t fighting in the war), they had a couple kids and spent their mornings making delicious omelets and their afternoons harvesting lavender. She couldn’t be bothered returning to the constant push required of Parisian life because, well, lavender makes you lazy.
Or she B:
Fled to Provence and discovers her husband died in the war. She never returns to Paris out of sheer heartache.
Fled to Provence and opened an ice cream shop like Elizabeth Bard in her new lovely memoir “Picnic in Provence.”
I was given an advance copy of Picnic in Provence. I was happy to give a nice blurb it because I was literarily licking my chops as I read it.
“Feel transported to a kitchen table in the French countryside where the chef delights you with juicy stories about life in Provence.” – Janice MacLeod, author of Paris Letters
So back to the dusty apartment of treasures. What do you think happened back in 1940 to make the owner never return?