Coco Chanel (1883 - 1971)

Coco Chanel

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Coco Chanel (1883 - 1971)
Iconic fashion designer.
Friend of Dmitri Romanov and of Aimée Lopes de Soto Maior / Aimée de Heeren.
Night visitor of Cremerie de Paris
Helped to buy Cremerie de Paris N°1

return - A Start with nothing /
Chanel discovers Cremerie de Paris 1/4

return - Chanel meeting
Brazilian Secret Service Agent Aimée Soto Maior 2/4

When Chanel cannot sleep ...
Aimée just comes from a Party ...
Nightwalks through Paris

escalier d'honneur de la Cremerie de Paris
Aimée lives in between New York, Palm Beach, Biarritz and Paris.
Paris is the only place where she does not have her own house,
the Hotel Meurice is her Parisian address.

When Chanel cannot sleep she calls the Meurice to find out if  Madame de Heeren
is already back. "Désole, Madame n'est pas encore rentrée"
is the usual answer of the night concierge
The "partygirl" Aimée is invited everywhere and never comes home very early
but as soon as she gets the message that Mademoiselle Chanel has called
she calls back no matter the time.

This is the beginning of their "Paris Night Walks".
20 min later they meet.
The Meurice and the Ritz are very close
Aimée can wait to share her impressions of the last party
and Gabrielle who does not go out any more
is dying to her all what has happened.

Sometimes Salvador Dali,also living at the Meurice,
wanted to join them,
but he was too excentric for Aimée
and anyways the Ladys wanted to be on their own
just sharing each others company.

The usual destination of their walks went along rue Saint Honoré
in the direction of the Les Halles foodmarket open all night.
After a drink at the Maison Rouge
they went to Cremerie de Paris
waiting a moment for the old old door of 9 rue des Déchargeurs to open
(due to the busy activity of the foodmarket there is always someone going in and out).

Walking into the long long private courtyard
to see the magic N°5 staircase Chanel had discovered in her youth with Dmitri Romanov
Sitting at the top of the staircase old souvenirs came back to memory....

A little jewel from Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel old
1970 Décember Gabrielle Chanel et Aimée de Heeren
are on their usual nightwalk.
Spirit of Christmas is in the air of Paris.
Chanel is a sad that Aimée is about to leave
to spend Christmas in the US.
She knows that on Christmas Eve she might be all alone.
Sitting on the top of the magical staircase
Gabrielle takes from her coat a little poche
and slides it over to Aimée.

"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

a little jewel left by Coco Chanel

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
a cross,
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.

Ben Solms and Aimée Lopes de Soto Maior / Aimée de Heeren
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.

Romanov children
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

1993 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.

a little jewel left by Coco Chanel
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.

Cremerie de Paris en 1993
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 )
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,
recorded videos
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 ?

2012 Paris
A book of Chanel's life
another one
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.

Le projet démarre en flèche avec Nike comme premier client
et y installe un Barbershop accompagné d'un TV Commercial avec des footballers.
L'évènement est suivi d'une "scandaleuse" Boutique Adopte Un Mec
et d'une expo UGG.

Le seul problème ....
fin 2012 s'installe face à la Cremerie
un chantier titanesque pour construire
une des plus importantes sorties de Métro du Monde,
la sortie principale du pôle Chatelet Les Halles.

Soudainement plus personne ne veut venir ...

Comment attirer des marques
alors que dans la rue des Halles on ne voit plus que des scies de béton et des camions.

Mission impossible ?
Fallait-il mettre la clé sous la porte ?
Peut-être .... sauf qu'il y avait à nouveau la magie de Mademoiselle Chanel.

Les visites de la Cremerie sont décalés vers la soirée où le chantier est au repos
et pendant les visites l'éditeur raconte quelques anecdotes sur les passages
de Mademoiselle Chanel.

2013 Tokyo
Exposition des Pokemon
Lors de cette expo nous avons la chance de parler l'inventeur des "poket monsters".
Dans un mix entre l'anglais et le japonais Monsieur Masuka nous demande
"can you tell me a little more about Gabrielle Chanel ?"
Nous lui montrons l'escalier et il nous explique
qu'il avait depuis longtemps le projet d'organiser une exposition en Europe.

Un jour il était tombé sur
les histoires un peu "crazy & funny" d'une Gabrielle Chanel qui
venait voir la Cremerie au milieu de la nuit quand elle n'arrivait pas à dormir.

Et tout de suite l'inventeur des Pokemon
savait que c'était là où devait se trouver son Pokemon Center.
Les travaux du métro n'avaient aucune importance
face à la magie de toutes ces personnes dans l'histoire de la Cremerie de Paris.

2017 Paris
Les travaux étaient presque éternels,
retard après retard, aucune aide de la mairie
pour les commerces qui étaient souvent condamnés à fermer
et enfin avril 2017 la nouvelle sortie devait ouvrir.

La date annoncée était le 28 avril 2017,
mais le 28 avril les barricades bloquent toujours l'accès.
Idem le lendemain, le sur-lendemain.
Un jeudi soir, juste avant le deuxième tour des élections d'Emmanuel Macron
un des ouvriers nous dit, ca devrait ouvrir demain matin.

Projet se lever de bonheur pour être là pour l'ouverture.
Mais est-ce que le réveil allait être au RdV ?
Non, il fallait dormir à la Cremerie pour ne pas rater ce moment tant attendu.

A 2h du matin impossible de dormir,
l'idée de faire une promenade - hélas sans la compagnie d'Aimée de Heeren.
Une porte d'ascenseur du Forum des Halles était ouverte
et soudainement à 3 h du matin en plein dans la salle d'échange (fréquentée par 800.000 personnes par jour)
complètement désserte.
Une promenade dans la station Châtelet les Halles.

Sortie N°1 Chatelet les HallesSortie N°1 du metro Chatelet les Halles
Au lever du jour les barricades tombent,
l'éditeur de cet article a le privilège d'être le premier voyageur à emprunter cet escalier.
La date n'ayant pas été communiquée aucun journaliste est sur place.

En travaillant les images en regardant la date,
le moment où il a fait ce voyage d'inauguration de la plus importante sortie de métro de Paris
etait le 5 mai 2017 à 5h50
comme si Mademoiselle Chanel avait encore une fois
été présente dans le déstin de la Cremerie de Paris.

L'année 2017 était encore une année de travaux.
Du retard après retard.
Des emprises de la SemParis Seine qui ne voulaient jamais partir
car ils permettait aux cadres de la société
d'avoir des places de stationnement gratuits
au detriment des Commerces.

next - Visiting Coco Chanel in Lausanne 4/4