A new series on TV5 covers famous hôtels (now that they have done with the chataux). This week's was the so called hôtel Potoquì in Paris, now the seat of the Chambre du Commerce et Industrie de Paris (at 1, Avenue Friedland, 75008 Paris). (Google map it to see the size of its garden).
It was bought by the colorful count Mieczysław Potoquì, son of Szczęsny (of Targowica fame) whose main adventure (and cause of long internal exile in Siberia and eventually out of Russia and to France) was that he was repeatedly rude two successive tsars, his masters (not being home when they called, forgetting to remove the hat when they entered, etc.) He left the house to his son, Mikołaj, whose main claim to fame was his wife, one Emanuela Emanuella Donna Pignatelli de Cerchiara, of Naples, a socialite, salon keeper, friend of Proust and Maupassant. The two have completely gutted and refurbished the house in a style now considered remarkable.
The house can now be visited and was by someone who left us some of these wonderful photos above. Alas, these photos do not include either the tapestries or the beautiful (and somewhat racy) frescoes for which the indomitable Emanuele posed ("not seductive," said someone about her, "but seduction itself"), but which were featured in the tv5 program and which occasioned all this search by yours truly. (Shall I henceforth tape everything I watch on TV?)
All I was able to find of the seductive Emanuelle was this garden statue at the hotel, for which she also posed:
A pretty girl, and not too shy.
Apparently, the monsieur le comte was a little tired by all this running about the house in the buff. "Darling, he would say to her reportedly, please pose naked for whatever and whomever you wish, who am I to place unreasonable limits on your wonderfully creative personality, but do me the favor and do not seduce the artists: they are hired help, you know. Have some respect for the feudal tradition."
It's thanks to fine liberal people like the comte that Paris is one of the few places in the world where it is a social positive to claim Polish ancestry. All it takes is, apparently, is a little money and a little sex appeal.