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Time Travel to 1930's Paris
June 16, 2013 11:01 PM   Subscribe

Paris Apartment opened for the first time in 70 years Including intriguing links to a scandalous Belle Époque art wold romance and a $3 million dollar painting. Subject of this AskMe last year but includes additional photos.

Another Paris apartment that I love.
posted by DarthDuckie (23 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
1930s...Paris!? Must warn them about Hitler and World War II!!

I'm a little surprised at how popular Mickey Mouse was in the 30s, but then again there was that "Steamboat Willie" scene in Saving Private Ryan.
posted by FJT at 11:07 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


A large enough apartment to have a stuffed ostrich.
posted by joelf at 11:30 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I know I need a stuffed ostrich.
posted by Catch at 11:38 PM on June 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"16 YEARS IS STUFFED OSTRICHES."
posted by knile at 11:47 PM on June 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn the human zoo of Paris. Guess that époque was not so belle for everyone.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:51 PM on June 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


The house that time forgot: Hundreds of antiques discovered in country mansion where little has changed in 100 years. This one had a maid to keep it dusted.
posted by stbalbach at 12:06 AM on June 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


joelf: "A large enough apartment to have a stuffed ostrich."

I was thinking it may be an emu. Looks pretty small for an ostrich, although who knows how old it was when it was "collected." I guess ostrich (Africa) would make more sense than an emu (Australia) for a French apartment.

Really cool stuff, regardless, and it baffles me why someone would keep paying the rent when they could have simply sold or moved the contents and saved a bunch of money on all those years of rent. I wonder if the explanation will ever be revealed.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:48 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really cool stuff, regardless, and it baffles me why someone would keep paying the rent

Seems a bit odd. Someone must have been paying for heat and property taxes (taxe foncière) as well. And 70 years of unwanted newspapers and advertising stuffed through the letter slot would have left little room for anything else. And no one ever came by to check to see why the TV license wasn't paid?
posted by three blind mice at 1:06 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


three blind mice: Read Marauding Ennui's post in the AskMe linked in the post. The whole thing appears suspicious and it does appear someone might have been living there.
posted by vacapinta at 1:25 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


70 years of unwanted newspapers and advertising stuffed through the letter slot would have left little room for anything else.

Not if you don't have a newspaper subscription or if your building doesn't allow prospecting. Both these things are relatively common in France, and especially common in higher-end apartment buildings. There's no mail slot in any of the photos; French buildings usually have mailboxes grouped in the building entrance. It's quite possible to open a mailbox for which you have the key without ever needing to enter an apartment. As for the other suspicious things, perhaps the owner also paid for someone to live there, or gave a trusted neighbor a key. I realize as a born-and-raised American that the latter statement might be cause for gasps and terrified protestations of "things would be stolen!" but over here it's still very common, even today. Took me a while to ease into that particular cultural difference, but it is indeed a thing.

Guess that époque was not so belle for everyone.

No kidding. I have friends in Paris who bought three chambres de bonne in a Belle Époque building. That made for a grand total of 24 square meters, or approximately 260sq.ft. Just to be pedantically crystal clear: 24 square meters is the combination of all three apartments. Cleaning people were given absolutely miniscule living quarters, and they were usually on the top floors, which were freezing in winter and baking in summer. No elevators. Claustrophobic spiral staircases – by that I don't mean that spiral staircases are claustrophobic in and of themselves, but that the ones built for reaching service quarters are so tight and steep, and so narrow that even low-profile guard rails often can't be added or else people won't fit, that you feel more like you're spelunking than going to visit friends. Quite a contrast with time capsules of the privileged.
posted by fraula at 2:34 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The photos in that link look very staged. I would love to see what the apartment actually looked like when the first people entered after 70 years. Of course it's possible that paintings were artfully displayed against chairs and walls like that, but I wonder...
posted by lollusc at 3:09 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I know I need a stuffed ostrich.

They say "the Road to Hell Is Paved with Unbought Stuffed Ostriches."
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:06 AM on June 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm in Budapest for a year and the neighbor has the key to my house in Indiana. We're not all as weird as you might think, fraula. (The Internet makes things much easier, of course.)
posted by Michael Roberts at 4:42 AM on June 17, 2013


Guys, it's an emu. I mean, she seems rich but she wasn't stuffed-ostrich rich.
posted by beau jackson at 6:24 AM on June 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Previously, when the apartment was first opened in 2010.

This post has more photos, though.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:56 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid my dad was friends with an aging southern belle, who was the scion of a formerly high status Alabama family. The family essentially owned a small county-county seat town in the Black Belt, but had slowly moved to the bigger towns like Tuscaloosa over the decades and eventually died off leaving her with all the remaining property. One set of cousins finally abandoned their country estate in the 1910's and never got around to returning. The heirs eventually sold the ajoining farmland to the US government to use as a German POW camp during WWII. The house sat untouched for decades. The roof and windows held and the town died around it leaving the house more or less as it had been left in the teens. We would go with her often to help her raid the gardens and orchards of some of the other various estates that she'd been left by various childless aunts and uncles, but on one such trip she offered to take us into the abandoned house. Everything was left just as if they'd simply gotten up and walked out expecting to return in a few days. Newspapers were neatly folded and left on chairside tables, cans of food sat on the shelves, dishes were stacked for drying by the sink and towels hung by the bathtub. I was mostly interested in the stereoscope, which had boxes and boxes of cards with it. I remember it being rather creepy because of the feeling that the people intended to return at any time and never ever did.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:06 AM on June 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


This kind of thing happens often. As a kid I found exploring old houses a treat, but I was never allowed to explore this one old house, for it was just as the house was the day the old couple died in 1944. Curtains in windows-bedclothes draped over hangers, newspapers on tables with coffee cups, logs in the fireplace. Their three children were so hateful and fighting over their parents possessions they they just decided nobody will get anything and left it all to set and rot. 60 years later the river got up and washed/knocked the house down, causing the second floor to be at ground level, and the first floor to be 20 miles down river.
(after that I secretly explored-and boy oh boy-even with the house destroyed it was unreal. I found lots of treasures that I still have.)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only mystery here is that she never returned to the apartment. All she had to do was to have the utility bills and tax forms forwarded to her new address (and she apparently owned the apartment, the "rent" thing seems to be a translation error). This type of Parisian building always had a live-in concierge who had all the keys and would take care of everything, from leaky pipes to overflowing mailboxes.
posted by elgilito at 8:12 AM on June 17, 2013


Hi dear! I don't have anything to add but thought I should comment on your first FPP.
posted by octothorpe at 10:18 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why did people back then have such dusty homes?
posted by ChuckRamone at 10:31 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're probably just joking, but: Last year I moved into a place with a furnace after 15 years of various apartments and townhouses with boiler/radiators. There is so much lest dust in this place. I guess the circulating air carries it through the filter.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:52 AM on June 17, 2013


Why did people back then have such dusty homes?

Dirt roads (or in Paris' case cobblestones set with paving sand), horses, and agriculture.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:30 AM on June 17, 2013


A Walk along the Paris inner city Railway, abandoned since 1934
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on June 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


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