Empress Eugenie / Eugenie de Montijo (1826 - 1920)
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Empress Eugenie of the French
Eugenie de Montijo
Eugenie de Montijo (1826 - 1920)
Eugenie was the wife of Napoleon III.
She was a fashionista and the creative mind behind
the renovation of the Les Halles Centrales foodmarket.
Eugenie transmitted the legends about Cremerie de Paris
and the Halles
to Alix Hessen, mother of Anastasia Romanov
and great-great-aunt of the current Cremerie de Paris.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) who was six years older had
a strong influence on the young French Empress.
Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom in 1837.
1848, Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte
became President of France 1852, he became emperor after un coup d'etat,
creating the Second French Empire. 1853, january 29 and 30 Napoleon III married Eugenie de Montijo
in the Palais de Tuileries. 1856, march 16 birth of the only child Louis Napoleon, Prince Impérial.
Napoleon III has many projects for the city of Paris.
The city was enlarged by annexing eleven surrounding Communes,
creating the existing 20 arrondissements.
Napoleon III and Baron Eugene Haussmann, his prefect of the Seine department (which included the city of Paris)
completely rebuilt the heart of the city,
creating new boulevards interconnecting the already existing monuments.
Rue des Halles, Pavillons Baltard & Cremerie de Paris
Emperess Eugenie fascinated by decorative arts was extremely interested
by the Halles Centrales projects.
The idea to create the "Rue des Halles"
was born in Biarritz where the Emperor and spent her vacation
in her summer home, the Villa Eugenie.
Today Villa Eugenie is the Hotel du Palais,
one the the Grand Hotels of the World
In 1848 the invention of plate glass had made it possible
to product large sheets of strong quality.
This enables the construction of the Crystal Palace
build in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Crystal Palace created a new structure with an amount
of glass never ever seen before in a building.
Visitors were amazed, in particular the French Emperor
Napoleon III and his wife Emperess Eugenie.
Napoleon III and Eugenie were rivalizing with Queen Victoria
and they had the project to make Paris
become the world's most beautiful city.
After seeing Crystal Palace
Eugenie influenced Napoleon III to change the plans
for new Halles Centrales foodmarket.
Under her influence
the just constructed first pavillion was demolished
and Victor Baltard was asked to present a new project
using as much glass and steel as possible.
Emperess Eugénie used her influence to make the Halles Centrales
as beautiful as possible.
She imagined Rue des Halles
to be the central avenue of the food market.
The original rue des Halles connected rue de Rivoli
and the place du Châtelet
with the Pavillons Baltard going from rue des Halles N°1 to N°32
Every little detail, every cariatide, every facade ornement
has gone through her hands.
Fascinated be the beauty of the old VB mansion
Baron Hausmann had to change the axis of the future street
so that the old
Hotel de Villeroy Bourbon could stay in place.
Cremerie de Paris is located on a hotspot
in the junction of the century old rue des Déchargeurs
and Eugenie's new rue des Halles
right next to the historic gate
of the VB mansion (Hotel Villeroy Bourbon)
Living 10 minutes walking distance from rue des Halles
at the Palais des Tuileries
it is easy for Eugenie to follow up on the construtions.
And of course she shows the VB mansion to her son Louis Napoléon.
The boy was named after Louis XIV
and after his father Napoléon III / his uncle Napoléon Bonaparte.
A story that leaves France
Eugenie's transmits the legends
of Cremerie de Paris to children
mainly a little girl called Alix
1870 attacked by Otto von Bismarck
Napoleon III lost the Franco Prussian war
which resulted in the end of the Second Empire.
Napoleon III and Eugenie had to leave the country
which became the 3rd Republic
September 5 the Empress left Paris with help of her dentist Doctor Evans.
September 7 she arrived in Deauville,
September 8 she took a boat from Trouville to England.
Queen Victoria gave them exile in England.
The family settled at Camdem Place in Chislehurst, south of London.
Napoleon III died in 1873.
Eugénie hoped her son would be able to make a comeback,
but 1879 Louis Napoléon died in Zoulouland (South Africa).
Eugenie fell into depression.
1880 Eugenie met Queen Victoria's grand-daughter Alix Hessen.
The young girl had just lost her mother, Princess Alice of Great Britain.
wanted to protect her but she did not have enough time
for her grandchild.
This gave Eugenie a new responsability
and she started to tell the little girl
all her wonderful stories of Paris,
Everything started with the fairytales
of a young boy that grew up in the house of Cremerie de Paris
two centuries earlier, Louis XIV.
Eugénie lived for a long time
and she continued to transmit the legends about
Cremeries de Paris and the les Halles foodmarket to children.
Travelling through Pars she lived at the Hotel Continental
(today the Westin Paris ex Intercontinental).
always went by her Pavillons Baltard,
her rue des Halles and her Cremerie de Paris.
She came by incognito and nobody imagined that the old Lady
observing the locations with nostalgie
was the one that had orchestered their construction.
The picture taken in 1897 show the Pavillons near Cremerie de Paris N°9.
Little Alix marries Nicolas II
Cremerie de Paris and les Halles
loved by the Romanov children
The Love of Eugenie for les Halles continued to be alive in Russia
around the children of her friend Alix Hessen, that had become the wife of Nicolas II.
The children and their cousins (great-aunts and uncles of the editor of this article)
all wanted to come to Paris to see the magnificient foodmarket and the Cremeries de Paris.
The beauty and the legends of les Halles fascinated the Romanov children.
Alix Hessen, the mother of the children got some maps
so she could better explain the food market.
Eugenie lived in Farnborough in the Hampshire, United Kingdom.
She also had the villa Cyrnos on the côte d'Azur, Cap Martin.
Sissi of Austria was one of her guests.
It was the time of the "Belle Epoque" ...
Sissi and Empress Eugenie would have loved to read the book
la "Rose Blanche"
but unfortunately for them
Caroline von Krockow
wasn't born yet ...
1918 june Eugiene was devastated to hear
about the assasination of her friend Alix Hessen,
killed by the Bolcheviks with her five children and her husband Nicolas II.
1919 december Eugénie came to Paris for the last time,
A plate on the facade of the former Hotel Continental
is there as a souvenir.
1920 july 11 Eugénie died in Madrid at the age of 94.
A special train brought her back to England
where she is burried in Farnborough in the Saint Michel Abbaye.
She lies next to Napoléon III and her son Louis Napoleon.
The French Crown Jewels
Empress Eugenie's collection
Empress Eugenie, Queen Victoria and Tsar Alexander III
had the most important jewelery collection of their times.
At the fall of the Second Empire
part of the jewels remained in Paris
others followed her to London.
1872 june 24 hundred-twenty-three jewels were sold
by the former Empress through
Eugenie needed money to keep up her livestyle.
1887 mai 12 to 23 most of the jewels left in France were sold.
The sale was poorly organised by the 3rd French Republic.
President Jules Grévy did not want to keep any souvenirs of French Royalty
and liquidated a national treasure.
The sale made the fortune of professional jewelers like Charles Tiffany
and brough little money to the French State.
From time to time Eugenie sold other jewels.
Eugenie also left some jewels as presents during her lifetime.
Her friend Alix Hessen, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, received little jewels as a child.
She might also have received a present for her marriage with Tsar Nicolas II.
Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, godchild of Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria
later wife of the Spanish King Alfonso XIII
received a necklace with ten square-cut emeralds
(today the necklace seamed to have dissapeared)
1920 In Eugenie's will
her crown made by Alexandre Gabriel Lamonnier was bequeathed to Marie Clotlide Bonaparte,
daughter of Victor Napoleon (also considered as Napoleon V)
and great aunt of Jean Christophe Napoleon (also considered as Napoleon VII).
Other jewels were left to family in Spain.
The Crown Jewels with the Romanovs
Eugenie left some jewels to Alix Hessen
but unfortunately they must haved
dissapered with the Russian Revolution
The Crown Jewels with the Thurn & Taxis
1890 Some jewels, in particular Eugénies tiara were bought by Albert von Thurn & Taxis.
The tiara designed in 1853 by Alexandre Gabriel Lemmonier
with 212 historic pearls
and 2490 diamonts coming from another jewel created by Nitot for Marie-Louise.
According to the legend some of the pearls had been mounted in a previous jewel for Marie Antoinette
and might hav belonged to Louis XIV.
The diademe was sold through the jeweler Julius Jacobi who had bought it
in the 1887 sale for 78,100 Francs (under the 100.000 Francs estimation)
The tiara was the pride of the Thurn & Taxis family.
As you can see in the video Margarethe von Thurn & Taxis was wearing it many times.
The video cover shows her with her beautiful daughter Helene Elisabeth,
later married to the Margrave von Meissen, Prince of Sachsen.
1952 Albert left the Crown Jewels to his grandson Johannes ...
The first picture shows Albert Thurn & Taxis with his grandson Johannes in 1935
The second, taken in 1986, Johannes Thurn & Taxis with Aimée de Heeren and the editor of this article.
Johannes Thurn und Taxis marrying Gloria that wears Eugenie's tiara
and also a broach, 1980. Second picture in front of the same gobelin,
Gloria Thurn & Taxis with Aimée de Heeren and the editor of this article, picture 1988.
The jewels of the Ladies wear were probably part of the crown jewels.
The Crown Jewels with Aimee de Heeren
1939 to 1953 the 2nd Duke of Westminster
developped a passion for buying French Crown jewels
in order to offer them to
Aimée de Sotto Maior / Aimée de Heeren.
He had met Aimée in 1939 through Coco Chanel.
Based in Paris and later New York and Palm Beach
Aimée was a Brazilian Secret Service agent
who fascinated the Duke.
His nickname was Bendor, "Or" is the French word for Gold.
Bendor who was immensly wealthy
hired a private detectives to find out
where the jewels of the
"Couronne de France"
could be and tried to buy them from their different owners.
Many jewels were at that time located in London
and not many people were interested in them during WW2.
Even though Aimee was the girlfriend of Patrick Joseph Kennedy Jr
(older brother of later president John F Kennedy)
could impossibly refuse the presents
as Bendor was collecting them for her
like a little child finding beautiful shelves on a beach.
Aimée kept the jewels like a treasure.
She liked to carry some of them during receptions.
The jewels were hidden in Biarritz, those that were allowed to travel with her
were carried in the uggliest of her numerous suitcases
kept by her maid Lydia.
The editor of this article in the above picture with Aimée
has uncountable crazy and funny souvenirs about them ...
1986 he was invited to accompany Aimée for a week-end in Normandy
at the house of Edouard de Lobkowicz
and Françoise de Bourbon Parme.
Suddenly Aimée thought it was dangerous to leave the jewels
in her Paris appartment, avenue d'Iena.
So it was decided to take the suitecase with the jewels to Normandy.
On the way back to idea came up to visit the Cathedral of Rouen.
Parking the car near the church right next to a beautiful BMW series 6
that fascinted the editor of this article more than the cathral :-)
Aimée thought it was not a good idea to leave the jewels in the car,
so the editor carried the heavy, heavy suitcase through the Cathedral,
not realising that he was holding in his hand
many of the "French Crown Jewels".
From time to time people from Sothebys, Christies or other houses
to make her sell a painting or a jewel.
Never ever a jewel was considered, what ever the price ...
Aimée saw them as sacred trasures
that had come to her through destiny.
Sky view of Biarritz - in red circles
Eugenies former Villa Eugenie (now Hotel du Palais)
and Aimées Villa la Roseraie, rue Martias
Aimee de Heeren had in her mind to leave a Museum for the Crown Jewels
with her Biarritz Villa La Roseraie
so that future generations should
be educated in glamour and style
have a souvenir of Eugénie and herself,
both of them being considered to be the Queens of Biarritz.
She wanted the jewels to remain in Biarritz,
la reine des plage et la plage des rois.
Johannes Thurn & Taxis loved the idea
and thought to contribute to Aimée's secret museum plan with some of his broches.
Not the tiara he considered the ultimate prestige of the Thurn & Taxis family.
Unfortunately he died much to early 1990 december 14.
Aimée kept the project until her death, 16 years later, 2006 september 13
Unfortunately her dream never became reality.
The Crown Jewels with the Louvre
After WW2 Pierre Verlet, curator of the Louvre from 1945 in 1972,
started to buy back the first missing crown jewels.
The Crown of Empress Eugenie, that had remained in her personal collection,
returned to the Louvre in 1988 as a present of Roberto Polo.
1992 The friends of the Louvre bought back the tiara
which is the most famous piece of the French Crown jewels.
Johannes died december 1990, he would never have sold the jewel
but his wive did for
935.000 Deutsche Mark (502.385 euro),
between 1% and 5% of it's today's value.
Seeing the diademe again ...
Memo von Sachsen Gessaphe,
grandson of the beautiful Elisabeth Helene von Thurn & Taxis,
the only daughter of Albert and Margarethe von Thurn & Taxis.
Memo is too young to have met his great-grandparents
but he remembers the tiara from Regensburg
and from uncountable family stories.
In the picture with the editor of this article who once had the privilege to hold it in his hands
while it belonged to Johannes von Thurn & Taxis.
In the second picture Memo von Sachsen with David Aaron Benali
who makes the Videos for Cremerie de Paris expos
and who now has the project to create a video on Eugenie ...
Memo has a special link with the Cremeries
as, like his great grandmother Margarete von Thurn & Taxis
he is a descendent of Marguerite de Navarre
who gave her name to a square that surrounds the different Cremeries de Paris.
Video on the reopening of Gallery Apollon in the Louvre
The gallery shows the 23 pieces
left from the fabolous treasure of the Kings of France.
Books in relation to the French Crown jewels
Video in French about the French Crown jewels by Visites Privées
Eugenie's stories around Cremerie de Paris
A story that returns
Une histoire qui est revenue
This is how they came to the ears
of the editor of this article
... resulting in the 1987 reopening of the Cremeries de Paris, 116 year after Eugenie's departure from France
and 16 years after the end of the foodmarket.
Unfortunately nothing was left from the Romanov fortunes to help ...
exept some magic,
The magic was called
the above mentioned
owners of Eugenies jewels,
Johannes von Thurn & Taxis and Aimee de Heeren
both helping the editor of the article
a young student
with the reopening of Cremerie de Paris.
The editor of this article
does not have any of Eugenie's Crown jewels
but her influence and her glamour
might have contributed a little
that he was able to get a new Crown Jewel,
not a Tiara,
but a "Crow Jewel of modern times"
a Two Letter Dot Com Internet Domain,
there are only 676 of them being the shortest and most glamour adresses of the web.