11 Oct 2010

Time stops on the 9th arrondissement

It's unknown why Madame de Florian left her flat in such a hurry before the War, but one thing is known - she never returned.
This is her flat in Paris, halfway between the Pigalle red light district and Opera, as it stood when she left 70 years ago. Nothing has touched it but dust, until this week.

One thing that stands out in these images is the Mickey Mouse toy. The apartment has a personality and these are Madame's personal things. It makes you wonder why she left a place so suddenly if it was more than just a show-home.
As it turns out, Madame de Florian was the granddaughter of Marthe de Florian, an actress loved by many men, including the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, and the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini, for whom she was his muse. The artist's love letters to Marthe lay interned in the apartment, the only clue to the identity of the girl in the muslin dress who adorns Madame's wall.
Call it sentimental, but it's sad to think about the dismantling of the rooms . If it wasn't missed until Madame's recent death, then it would be nice to let it be, as a testiment to a mysterious French woman, and a life lived.



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