Tuesday, May 3, 2011
True Stories from Paris
Originally posted on La Vie En Fifi in two parts, 27 January and 5 February 2009
My Great-Aunt has some amazing stories about her years of living and working overseas as a nurse. She was telling me the other day that she was a private nurse for Elizabeth Arden's sister in the late 1960s in Paris. This lady was the behind-the-scenes person for the beauty company. My Great-Aunt would stay with her overnight in her Paris apartment and her household staff would be there during the day.
Miss Arden had to go to hospital for some reason, and couldn't decide whether to book into the American Hospital in Paris, or be privately nursed in either her home in Chantilly just outside of Paris, or in a suite at the Hotel Ritz. She finally decided not to stay at the Ritz as her dog didn't like the food there. Yes, really.
My Great-Aunt said you would see people sitting in the hotel restaurant, dog on a chair next to them, eating from their own plate at the table. Incredible.
My Great-Aunt also told me that when she worked in the American Hospital in Paris in 1969, she nursed Coco Chanel (the real deal). One evening Mademoiselle Chanel did not feel like having a bath or a shower, so had my Great-Aunt empty bottles of Chanel No. 5 into a basin for a sponge bath. When she was finished, my Great Aunt was instructed to pour the fragrance down the sink.
During the same hospital stay, a very young Karl Lagerfeld came in to see Mme. Chanel, among other visitors. When I asked her if Coco spoke much, she said she never stopped talking, however it was in very fast French and my Great-Aunt was still learning to speak the language at that stage so didn't catch much at all. Such a shame! Imagine having a conversation with Coco Chanel and the questions you could ask her.
The image above is of the L’espadon restaurant at the Ritz Paris from paris-best-restaurants.com. Just dreamy.