It’s not surprising, perhaps, that an enterprising perfumer might create a collection of candles designed to evoke memories of her childhood home. What’s more notable is to discover that those childhood memories were formed in one of Paris’ most exclusive neighborhoods, in one of its most stately and exquisitely preserved 18th-century private mansions: the renowned Hôtel de Maisons.
An explanation of the name helps to convey some of its history: in French, a hôtel particulier is a private mansion built for the use of an aristocratic family. The Hôtel de Maisons was first occupied in 1707 by the family of Claude de Longueil, the Marquis of Maisons, a township southwest of Paris. When the Marquis joined the Soyecourt family in 1732, the mansion became known as the Hôtel de Soyecourt.
The mansion was confiscated during the French Revolution and then reacquired by the Soyecourt family in 1815. It was eventually sold to Carlo Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, an esteemed politician and Valentine’s great-great-grand-uncle.
And so it was here that Valentine was raised surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, all residing in the many apartments on the property.
In 2010, the family sold the hôtel particulier to the President of Gabon for the breathtaking sum of €100 million, making it the most expensive private residence in Paris.
Here, Valentine’s fond memories remain, ready to be rekindled one candle at a time.
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