In 2010, auctioneer Oliver Choppin-Janvry received a bizarre phone call from the family of Solange Beaugiron. The 91-year-old had recently passed away, and her family wished to have her apartment in Paris appraised. The twist? No one had been inside for over 70 years.
When Oliver and his team stepped inside, they were immediately hit with the smell of old dust. However, as they looked around, they began to realize that they'd stepped into a time capsule. Everything was exactly the way Solange had left it in the 1940s. All around them were remnants of what life was like in the early 1900s, right down to the brands of toiletries lined up on the vanity.
It was certainly an incredible find, but why would someone leave an apartment full of treasures unattended for so long? Why did they continue to pay the rent? And who was the portrait of the mysterious woman in the pink dress? The answers to these questions were so unexpected that false reports were rampant in the media, but eventually, it all lead to a stunning truth.
The apartment sits at 2 Square la Bruyère in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. Can you imagine learning that you'd been living next to a time capsule for years?
The interior of the apartment was covered in dust, but the contents were in great shape.
In fact, everything was exactly the way Solange left it in the 1940s. She fled the apartment for the south of France during World War II, escaping the death and destruction brought by the Nazis. Some say it was there that she wrote under the pseudonym Solange Bellegarde, but either way, she must have had an income. She would continue to pay the Parisian apartment's rent until she died.
However, many items in the apartment were simply too old to have belonged to Solange.
While this vintage Mickey Mouse fits Solange's timeline, other items, like the taxidermy ostrich and antique paintings do not.
It seemed that the apartment had an owner before Solange, and by the looks of things, they were quite affluent and admired.
The answer came by way of this portrait by Giovanni Boldini, found among other art in the apartment. The mysterious woman in the pink dress is none other than the infamous Madame Marthe de Florian, the original owner of the apartment and Solange's grandmother.
She was a woman of stunning beauty, who was known for having a string of famous lovers in high-power positions, including Paul Deschanel (11th President of France) and Gaston Douergue (13th President of France). Although the contents are unknown, there were love letters tied in colorful ribbon found on the property.
Unfortunately, the home is still owned by her estate and is not open to visitors. Some items have been sold at auction, including the portrait of de Florian which went for a stunning 2.1 million euros.
It's crazy to imagine what the rest of the home must be worth.
Another interesting fact – de Florian actually died in the apartment in 1939, perhaps right on that very bed.
Madame de Florian was buried in Paris. She's at peace, but her apartment still sits, almost as if she never left. It's a tiny slice of history, but one that is unforgettable.
To take a virtual tour of the apartment, check out the video below:
Via: Little Things