Today I thought we could make a quick stop at Villa Pausa on the French Riviera, the former residence of none other than Coco Chanel, between 1929 to 1953. It’s on the market for the second time in just two years for a cool $52 million through London real-estate firm Knight Frank [updated]. In 2011, the palatial home went up for sale through Sotheby’s and was even said to have been purchased by an anonymous buyer before pending litigation issues saw it pulled off the market. With the legal issues hopefully now all ironed out, Villa Pausa is ready once more for the bidding wars! I stumbled across the Sotheby’s photographs of the property as it is today…
Of course I also went digging for some photographs of how the house looked when Chanel was living in it… (that’s her in a tree)
The house was built in 1929 after Coco’s then-lover, (the very generous) Duke of Westminister bought her a plot of land in Cap Martin after spotting it together while sailing around the riviera on his yacht (as you do).
Chanel at Villa Pausa
Coco had architect Robert Streitz take inspiration from the Cistercian convent orphanage where she grew up, but on the vaulted brick ceilings you would also find the crown from the Duke of Westmister’s coat of arms.
Their love affair ended in 1933, ten years after they met in Monte Carlo, but as you might have guessed, Chanel kept the house. Talking about her separation with the Duke, Coco was famously quoted as saying, “There are a lot of duchesses, but only one Coco Chanel.”
Chanel’s original bed at Villa Pausa
In 2007, the house of Chanel’s perfume “nose”, Jacques Polge created a scent inspired by the villa and its five acre gardens planted with lavender and rosemary called “28 La Pausa“.
The likes of Igor Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Luchino Visconti all passed through this villa when they were accented with handsome pieces of Spanish and Provençal furniture chosen by Mlle Coco.
A dinner hosted by Chanel at the villa
After the death of the Duke of Westminister in 1953, Chanel decided to sell la Pausa and it was then bought by Emery Reves, a literary agent, author and art collector. Reves happened to be the literary agent of Winston Churchill. The British Prime Minister was a regular guest at the villa in the late 1950s. Reves also played host to the likes of Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly and Asistotle Onassis to name a few.
In other words, this house has serious history behind its doors!
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