"This is my Christmas present for you,
Dmitri gave it to me a long time ago,
keep it as a souvenir of your old friend Coco Chanel
and as a little luck bringer.
It's thanks to Dmitri
I created N°5.
You have also helped me
bringing my name
to the ears of the Kennedys.
You are my wonderful friend."
Coco Chanel december 1970
Inside the poche the little jewel Dmitri Romanov
had brought from Russia when escaping the Revolution.
The next day Aimée takes a plane to Miami
where her husband is waiting for her in Palm Beach.
1971 January 10, a sunday evening
Chanel dies at the Hôtel Ritz.
Friday January 15 after a mess at the Madeleine church,
Gabrielle Chanel is buried in Lausanne in the cimetary du Bois de Vaux.
She had designed her grave herself:
5 lions (her astrological sign)
decorated a white marble
in which is engraved
the name Gabrielle Chanel
and the dates 1883 - 1971.
There is no gravestone so that
"she can go up to heaven to dress the angels".
On the left side Gabrielle designed a bank
so that her visitors would remain for a while
to have a conversation with her.
Aimée gets the message to late to come to the funeral.
Decades later she always wanted to make a trip to Lausanne.
The editor of this article was supposed to drive her,
but unfortunately the trip to the lake of Geneva never became reality.
16 years later
Meeting Chanel's magic friend ... Aimée
Continuing the night walks through Paris 3/3
Years go by ... 1982 / 1986 Paris
Fascinated by the crazy and funny stories from Russia
the little boy wanted to know if the Cremeries de Paris still existed.
Age 15 he was invited to Paris,
his aunt Dorothea (niece de Carl) worked in St Germain en Laye
as a journalist for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
She had the mission to help him find the Cremeries.
Two years later, now 17, he had the chance
to return to France with a school exchange program.
Instead of leaving the exchange colledge,
the school called Franklin kept him to run for the Bac.
Next to his studies the student worked for Madame Florence Doré
who send students to help in fashion events.
1986 january fashion week
The student meets someone that had a historic link with the main Cremerie de Paris
during the times it was a Postal company
Johannes Thurn & Taxis invites him to his birthday party in Bavaria, 1986 june 6.
1986 At the party Johannes Thurn & Taxis presents the student to a friend.
"I want you to leave a good impression on her,
I want you to become friends with her,
she will be a "springboard" for you.
The student knew nothing about Aimée
exept that she was from Brazil:
Aimée de Heeren,
the same Aimée Lopes Sotto Maior that Chanel had met
half a century earlier
back in 1938.
When he asked her "Where do you life ?"
The answer was "Oh it depends on the season".
Juin 1 to July 15, Septembre 15 to Octobre 31 her home was Paris,
most of the times at the Hotel Meurice.
Aimée liked to walk through Paris at night
and a few weeks after the Bavarian birthday party
she asked him if he would not like to be part of the walk.
Walking through Paris
the young student hears
that 20 years earlier
another person was used to accompany Aimée
through sleeping Paris.
This person had been much, much older than Aimée ....
she was a fashion designer
her name was Gabrielle Chanel.
The nightwalks started at the Hotel Meurice
and they went in the direction of Chatelet les Halles
where was located the legendary Cremerie de Paris
the place described in the Russian fairytales
by the great uncle and the great aunt
that were part of the inner circle of the Romanov children.
The student had opened a Sony Phone Boutique near Cremerie de Paris N°1.
When Aimée showed hom the legendary Cremerie de Paris courtyard
for the first time
she was all surprised the student already knew about it.
The picture shows the Romanov children in 1910
on the upper left side their mother Alix Hessen / the last Tsarina
and their aunt Eleonore Solms / Eleonore Hessen.
In the small cercles the other children,
among them Dmitri Romanov,
Carl and Friederike Solms.
Carl returns in 1970 with the editor of this article now a small child
Coco Chanel is there in 1920 with Dmitri Romanov
and again in 1938 with Aimée Sotto Maior (see red arrows),
Aimée Sotto Maior in 1938, and again with the editor of this article in 2003.
the editor of this article and Aimée
knew the legends about the Cremerie de Paris,
- one by the last survivors of the Romanov children
his great uncle Carl and his great aunt Friederike,
- the other by Gabrielle Chanel and Dmitri Romanov.
The stories had the same source,
Alix Hessen / the Tsarina
that had told thme to children in the years 1910.
For Gabrielle Chanel
Cremerie de Paris was a magical place
she liked to go to
to feel some inspiration
coming from the Kings of France
She was fascinated little Louis XIV
had already seen the N°5 logo
1992 Cremerie de Paris N°1 (closed for many many years
and covered by wood barricades)
was for rent.
The editor's small Sony Phone Store (today N°2)
worked really well
and Aimée pushed him to get Cremerie N°1
But the owner of the space was scared
to get such a big location
to someone so young without any financial background.
The project did not work out ...
The power of Chanels little jewel
Reopening the legendary Cremerie de Paris
Cremerie de Paris N°1 returns on the market the following year.
The furniture store of a well established furniture brand did not work,
also the Kuwait Golf war results in a recession
but the owner of the store
is still scared to rent it to someone so young.
"you should ask the owner to sell you the place.
Selling it he has no risk with tent payments,
try it ... "
The owner is not against the idea
but how to find financing in a country like France
that does not like to help his own children,
special when they come from abroad.
Nothing to do,
not enough financial background.
Unfortunately nothing was left from the Romanov fortunes.
Exept some magic.
The magic was called
Aimée Sotto Major
and Coco Chanel.
Aimée: "you know if it is impossible to get a bank loan in France
you need to try in another country,
Germany or the Unietd States.
They have a mentality that is more open.
And what a surprise
Deutsche Bank is ready to finance the aquisition,
all what is needed is a down payment.
A new problem ...
Not enough for the down payment.
Coco Chanel had left a little jewel to Aimée
a little jewel that came from Russia
and that was there to bring good look.
Aimee liked that fact that her young friend had done
all he could to work out a solution.
and she decided to sell Chanel's little jewel
as if Gabrielle had told her
"you need to continue the story".
With the result of the sale
the available down payment becomes more important
and Deutsche Bank accepts to give the loan.
Cremerie de Paris N°1 can reopen ...
Les bonnes ondes de la Cremerie attirent une nouvelle idée,
ouvrir un Cybercafe ce est une toute autre histoire en pleine naissance de l'Internet.
Nous y avions inventées
le Phone Book of the World (Annuaire du Monde.com )
Aimée vient pour prendre des cours d'internet,
mais nous sommes toujours toujours loin d'imaginer
qu'elle était en réalité bien plus âgée que nous pensions.
2006 New York
2006 septembre 16 the time had come for Aimée to leave this world,
35 after Gabrielle Chanel.
Her real age has always remained a secret ...
It's only in the Lennox Hill Hospital in New York
she lifts this mistery
she was 103 years old.
Oups Aimée was not 50 or 40 years younger than Chanel,
only 20 !
this meant she was much much older than everybody had imagined,
beeing already over a 100
while swiming in the Atlantic ocean in Biarritz
white laking internet lessons at the Cybercafe de Paris,
while traveling to Serbia.
she was not 30
but 62 years older
as if the night walks through Paris
had permitted to bypass the barriers of time.
Missing Aimee de Heeren
When you have had the chance
to make night walks through Paris
with a friend of Chanel
that was at the same time the epitom of glamour and style
and Brzail's ultimate secret agent,
you miss her ...
Suddenly you realize that all these increadible stories
you had the chance to hear
were like travelling through history.
Too bas not to have taken notes,
but at the time
the editor of this website was not interested in Chanel.
His universe was Sony and the Phone Book of the World.
Who was Gabrielle Chanel ?
A book of Chanel's life
again another one
The editor of this article
realises so many interconnection
between Aimée's and Chanel's life.
He had run into a dozens of people
that Chanels knew.
He hat met them mostly in Paris, Biarritz, Palm Beach
just not realising at the time
who they were
and now they are all gone.
But the one he regrets most is not to have been able to Gabrielle Chanel herself.
Chanel would be able to tell him more about the young Aimée.
Coco Chanel helping to
Become a "Meeting place
for the World's most famous Brands"
Le temps du Cybercafe était limité,
le wifi et l'accès internet sur les portables rendait le café obsolète.
Il fallait trouver quelque chose de nouveau.
Le hasard de la vie nous a amené vers une nouvelle aventure.
Transformer notre Cremerie historique
en un petite musée
où des marques magiques peuvent exposer au monde leur savoir-faire.
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