Abandoned Apartment Locked In 1939, Door Opened 70 Years Later To Reveal Priceless Secrets

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When the Germans invaded Paris in 1939, many people fled from their homes and headed south to freedom. Most of these families would never see their houses and belongings again, lost to the destruction of World War II. But now, decades later, one family was given the opportunity to reclaim their home and legacy.

In September of 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland, and many Europeans feared if their country would be next. Fearing the inevitable Nazi invasion of France, Madame de Florian fled her Paris apartment, never to return. She locked the door and never looked back as she and other Parisians flocked to the free zone of southern France.

Madame de Florian was only 23 when she left her home in Paris. Although she never returned, she continued to pay rent until her death at the age of 91. After her passing, her heirs learned of the locked apartment and hired auctioneer Olivier Chopin Jandry to take a look. What they found inside was nothing short of amazing.

Like a giant time capsule, Madame de Florian’s apartment remained untouched by all but spiders and dust for nearly 70 years. When they stepped inside, the auctioneer and his team felt as though they were walking into a photograph of a bygone era. The dining room table was still set with dishes, and artwork had been taken from the walls, ready for movers who never came.

Apart from a thick layer of dust, Madame de Florian’s vanity was still awaiting her next styling session. Brushes, makeup, and perfume bottles lay exactly where she had left them more than half a century ago. At the feet of a beautifully stuffed bird lay a pair of dolls, Mickey Mouse and Porky Pig, that marked the height of pop culture in the late 1930s.

While taking stock of the countless belongings, the auctioneer’s team discovered a painting of a woman in a pink dress beside a collection of love letters bound with a ribbon. After conducting some further research, they discovered some of the letters belonged to Giovanni Boldini, an Italian painter known for his flowing style who lived and worked in Paris for most of his career.

The painting became even more special when researchers discovered that it was of his beloved Musa Dagh Florian, Madame de Florian’s grandmother. The beautiful lady in pink was painted in 1888 when Martha was only 24 years old. Martha was a famous Parisian actress in the late 19th century.

She lived a life of luxury and had collected love letters from various famous suitors courting for her favor. Her painting would become Belle Dini’s most expensive on record when it was finally sold at auction in 2010 for 3 million euros ($3.4 million) from a starting bid of 300 thousand euros.

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