Thursday, September 26, 2013

Josephine's Suburban Paradise - Le Beau Chêne

For the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine last weekend, the grounds of Josephine Baker's idyllic villa - Le Beau Chêne - were opened to the public for the first time!

Journée du Patrimoine flier

After standing empty for several years, the property was finally purchased by Philippe Baudry, architect and CEO of the environmental ecosystem development company ARTEA.

Philippe Baudry and Monique Y. Wells
© Discover Paris!

Le Beau Chêne
© Discover Paris!

Le Beau Chêne (rear)
© Discover Paris!

M. Baudry graciously opened the gates to the 3.7-acre estate and allowed scores of visitors to walk around the grounds and gaze upon Josephine's former mansion and its "Temple of Love," stable, garage, and hothouses. So much has fallen into disrepair that restoring the property will be a big challenge.

Temple of Love
© Discover Paris!

Stable and garage
© Discover Paris!

© Discover Paris!

This may well be the last time that the public will see the grounds as they existed during Josephine's time. Permission has been granted to divide the property into three lots, to build two new houses and carports on it, and to alter access to the property.

Construction permit
© Discover Paris!

The mansion itself was not open to the public, but Mr. Baudry invited me inside to wait for him while he searched for a business card. Renovations are in progress – I could see that some of the rooms have been completely gutted and several of the rooms on the ground floor are currently being used as offices. Still, it was easy to imagine the splendor that Josephine once enjoyed!

Because of this visit, I now have new photos of the villa and additional anecdotes about Josephine to share with those who participate in the Josephine's Suburban Paradise excursion with Discover Paris! We are launching a DELUXE version of this private, guided tour for individuals and groups of up to 6 persons, which includes private transportation to and from Paris and an exclusive lunch in a private Le Vésinet bed & breakfast. Le Beau Chêne is the highlight of the tour but participants will also visit several additional sites in this town where Josephine enjoyed the most successful and carefree years of her life. For more information, contact us at .


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Shelley Bradford Bell said...

Monique I'm so excited!!!! I remember all those years back when you and I walked around the property wishing we could go in for just a peek. And now to see you standing on the entry staircase - WOW! This is going to be one of the best tour Entree to Black Paris offers. To be only a short ride from Paris and to see where Josephine lived, only a few scant meters from her rumored lover Charles DeGaulle. I can't wait to get back. Thanks for staying vigilant and bringing this treasure to us through ETBP!

Shelley Bradford Bell

About Beauford Delaney said...

Yes, I remember our visits to Le Vésinet as well. It was truly a thrill to be able to walk the grounds and enter Josephine's home.
And yes, our tour is definitely one not to be missed!