A life left behind...

Imagine Hitler and his troops are advancing on Paris, your home. You have minutes to flee. You gather what you can and quickly make your way out to find refuge in the south....never to return. Fast forward those 70 years and a time capsule to the past that was left behind is discovered...the woman it belonged to was Madame de Florian. 

After her death at the age of 91 in 2010 an inventory of possessions took place, only then did the family become aware to the existence of the apartment (just steps from the Trinity Church in Paris). 

Kept under a thick layer of almost protecting dust, treasures and life waited patiently for her return. Works of art, antique toys once loved and played with, evidence of a past life...asleep for eternity.

140 square meters have remained frozen in their place. And what's even more miraculous is, that though Madame de Florian never returned, she paid her expenses dutifully over 70 years. 

One of the majour discoveries however, was a painting by Giovanni Boldini, the Italian painter of the 19th century. In pink chiffon, a gorgeous woman poses. This is a portrait of Marthe de Florian, whose real name is Matilda Baugiron, born in 1875 and grandmother of the deceased owner. Marthe de Florian was an actress, courtesan, in short a "demi-monde" as they were called and one time muse of the artist and many other men of the era, including a minister and future "Tiger" Clemenceau. The expert in charge immediately thought Boldini but this painting had never been exposed, it was not listed anywhere in the catalogue of the artist. Continuing his exploration into the apartment, he discovered a love note manuscript from the painter, confirming the idea that it was an unprecedented array of Boldini. Only after the long search he found a reference in a book published in 1951 by the widow of the artist, saying it had been painted in 1898 when Marthe was 24 years old.

Long before her granddaughter, Marthe Florian lived in the apartment all her life. The family sold the painting at the starting price of 300, 000 EUR {£240. 94/$375.77}, it flew to 2.1 million, a new record for a Boldini. But, the most fabulous treasure, is this world - this home, caught in a frozen time bubble. Life lost with a beautiful story to tell. 

I hope you enjoyed this as I did,

Have a wonderful rest of the week & weekend to come.


{Pictures by Corbis Images}


  1. I do so very much, ahhhhhhhhhhh
    You have me nearly in tears (sad and joy)

  2. What a wonderful story.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a wonderful day.

  3. An amazing story but also so poignant ... war is so cruel. So sad that she never returned. M x

  4. oh gosh this was so brilliant..i am a history and film studies studies..so this post seemed so amazing!kind of chilling if you sit and think of the things left behind,frozen in time..


  5. Such a sweet story. :)


  6. That's such a beautiful story,
    very special! thank you for sharing :)

    LOVE BO,

  7. What a lovely story! Love it!

  8. i always love your posts <3

  9. Kizzy,

    I've read about this woman and thought it was really an interesting story. I can't imagine having to flee your home. What is truly amazing to me is that it stayed concealed all those years without anyone knowing about it!

    Btw: For some reason I can't see your photos...where I think the photos are supposed to be are the words "overblog publiez vos idees?

  10. Love eclectic design with a dash of old history! That vanity is such a masterpiece in all its detailed glory! Gorgeous post!

    Peace. Love. LOL!

    Haute Khuuture Blog

  11. Wow, that was an interesting story! She had a lovely house! :)

    P.S. Thanks darling! :*

  12. I love this story so much Doll although it does make me sad, I'd hate to have to leave behind my life like that, I really just don't find it all that fair to be honest, interesting post all the same though, like it's been said I love all your posts.

  13. What an interesting story. I can only imagine how wonderful all of the treasures in that apartment are.

  14. Kizzy,

    I can see the photos now! Thanks for stopping by for a visit. :)

  15. What a wonderful story!
    I'm really impressed.
    Thank you, dear, for sharing.

  16. This is absolutely amazing Kizzy, sad and beautiful at the same time. I am almost speechless - this is great - so glad you posted it doll, :)

  17. a wonderful story to go along with beautiful photos and memories.

  18. wow! so emotional story!
    thanx for sharring!

  19. Wow, I did not expect this at all, such an incredible story... and after all these years. I'm a bit lost for words now! That painting is exquisite.

    Finally catching up on some of your awesome posts - love being introduced to new artists.

  20. Dear Kizzy Doll,
    this is an amazing story and the pictures are just breathtaking! While looking at them I wish this place would stay in it's time capsule forever and not even a single piece of dust would be removed. Sleeping Beauty drops into my mind and I think it's not a story about a fairy tale princess but about a flat like this.

    I just love every detail of this flat. I imagine I was Madame Florian, sitting in front of the opulent mirror while doing makeup and using the precious bottles of perfume.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this treasure. Seeing this was the most stunning moment of today!

    xx, Sara

  21. I always enjoy your posts. They always seem to thrill and excite me! This one is no exception. I cannot believe this home was left so intact. The memorabilia and each item has a story. I hope I can decorate my home to look just as chic.



  22. Wow, what a a discovery! I have been very much into history, particularly World War II period and The Holocaust. There is so much to try and understand and learn from from that particular time in history. -Jessica

  23. This is so amazing! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for sharing.

  24. Most interesting, yet sad story, I cannot imagine going through that. My grands used to tell me stories similar about her friends cousins in Germany during and post WW2. Can't imagine having to flee from everything. :( I'm so happy we have so much freedom. Thanks for sharing this post!

  25. This is one of the best posts I've ever read! Every bit of it is incredibly fascinating and so glamorous, and yet so sad.

    How amazing it must have been to discover the apartment and realize it was just how she left it so many decades before. Wow.

    And that painting: stunning. The history behind it makes it even more magical.

  26. WOW! This is amazing, a painting that went up to 2 million??? That's amazing! What a gorgeous work of art and a brilliant lady to rescue such a piece.

  27. Quiero que sepas que hoy ,con tu post he disfrutado muchísimo y por eso te sigo desde ya .
    Un besazo enorme .

  28. Wow, this is such a beautiful and amazing piece of history! It's so impressive!
    Have an amazing weekend, sweetie!

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls

  29. Wow, this is simply amazing!
    I just wonder why she never returned...

  30. Vintage things are so fantastic...I always want to get swept up in the story :)


  31. Simply amazing how nothing was disturbed and everything was just there waiting to be discovered and shared. Enjoy your weekend...may it be filled with mini adventures, family, and hopefully some sun!

  32. This is so amazing! I'm glad the painting was sold for the price it deserved - a beautiful piece! But just as you say, the biggest treasure is the apartment itself! Just imagining stepping into it for the first time after all those years gives me goosebumps! :) The funny thing tho is the fact that the lady kept paying her expenses, and so keeping the place a secret for such a long time :D I wouldn't mind having that vanity table... xxx

  33. love the paintings and the antique furniture

  34. That is such an interesting story, and I'm sure there are other stories just like hers. So many leftover amazing things of a life once lived in a desperate time.

  35. Wow...this is fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a great weekend! xoxo

  36. I like it so much. Lovely! Have a great weekend sweetie!:)

  37. what a great post, really enjoyed reading ;)


  38. Wanna follow each other? :3

  39. Amazing paintings doll,have a great weekend.

  40. Such amazing bittersweet and poignant story! Thanks for sharing..You are swesome to find out such stories for us!! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    Style-Delights Blog

  41. thanks for sharing,lovely weekend


  42. Woah! I wish I was related to her now! It's amazing to think the things we leave behind will be so priceless in almost 100 years! (here's hoping)

  43. My God, that's such an incredible story! I'd love to get in there and search the whole house. I loved how you started the text :)

  44. Kizzy, this really touched me. I can't even imagine having to pick up and leave at a moments notice. Hitler was atrocious! Whenever I look at documentaries, it just makes me ill. The world took so long to help those that he forced out. Sorry, I'm rambling but I feel the people in Syria are receiving the same treatment. But that's another sad story. The treasures she left behind were awesome. That painting is gorgeous and so is the vanity. Cute Mickey Mouse doll. It's like time stopped around them. Thanks for sharing this.

  45. Wow! What a beautiful story. And those pictures are just gorgeous.

  46. Amazing story and amazing pics ;)
    I´m enjoying so much with this post!
    Come to visit my blog:


  47. Amazing blog :)

    Everything is great.

    Follow each other?

    xoxo , Azra


  48. Amazing story, Kizzy you never fail to surprise us.. where do you find these?

    ps. Second World War... i'm scared to think about what so many people went through...

    On a better note, I hope you're having a lovely weekend!!!


    psps. You should do a post about your new venture :)

  49. Beautiful story and I love the idea of a home frozen in time (Especially at such a historic time! I would have kept the painting!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  50. Wonderful post :)



  51. Very interesting, Your posts are so useful to read.. thank you

  52. This is so fascinating, as was the life of this incredible lady. I often wonder what life would have been like had I lived in the time of my parents, or grandparents, or long, long ago when everything was so much more difficult. Thanks for sharing this! -- J xxx


  53. How fascinating! What treasures! I just love that painting. It's completely captivating.

    Hope you had a wonderful week, lovely. Happy to be back :) xoxo

  54. Oh wow Kizzy!!!
    What an amazing post!!!!!
    I can't imagine being forced from my home- how awful!!!
    The antiques and paintings are beautiful!!!!!
    I can't imagine all the sentimental treasures in that room!!!!
    Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!!!!
    Hugs!!! Shannon

  55. This is just amazing, look at that apartment, I can see whole stories unravelling in there and I adore the colours in the painting.

  56. Someone just told me about this apartment last week and I searched online to find out more. And now you have this post, how very interesting!

    I wonder why she never returned?

    ~ Violet

  57. I heard about this apartment a few weeks ago and find it SO fascinating. Such an interesting story. I'd love to visit the apartment..

  58. sincerely i enjoyed this.its very2 sad that the family sold the treasure of boldini.this inspired me to hv my own private house to keep all memorable things that only be exposed to my children after my death

  59. What an amazing story and amazing finds. I remember hearing about this awhile ago but I never got the chance to see the pics. What a treasure trove esp. with it being untouched all that time. Exquisite vanity!! I literally would want to spend days and days in there looking at everything. So much history.

  60. Doll, this post is one whose photos I could study. All of the beautiful items that she owned are just amazing. From the torn wallpaper to the dusty bottles on the vanity...so beautiful just as is. I would love to do a post in there, wouldn't you? Have a great day dolly doo! dawn suitcase vignettes xo


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