Friday, March 24, 2017

Hotel D'Avaray. Paris.

Hotel D'Avaray. Paris.

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85 Rue de Grenelle.

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The  Hotel D'Avaray  is a mansion  located at 85 Rue de Grenelle  in the  7th arronsissement of Paris. . It was built in 1723 by the architect  Jean Baptist Leroux  on behalf of Claude Théophile de Bésiade, the Marquis of Avaray. It remained the property of the Dukes of D'Avaray until 1920  when it was bought by the Dutch government which made it its embassy in France . It is still owned by the Netherlands and is used mainly for diplomatic receptions and as Franco-Dutch exchanges.

The Hotel d'Avaray was built in 1720, at a time when the Faubourg Saint-Germain began to be covered with private mansions: there were about 60 on the plan of Jaillot in 1775. 
Claude Théophile de Béziade  (1701 -1746), Marquis d'Avaray, entrusted the work to the architect Jean Baptiste Leroux  (1677-1746) .Claude Théophile de Bésiade, first knight lord and then marquis of Avaray, descended from an old Béarnaise family of good nobility of sword, and his wife, born Catherine Angélique Foucault .
The construction budget of the Hotel d'Avaray was reconstructed thanks to research carried out in 1866 by Count Audéric de Moustier, husband of Antonie d'Avaray. The amount came to 194,000 pounds.The work lasted about two years.


King Louis X of France .
 The Béziades were  natives of Béarn. As early as the twelfth century, the family was known; The affiliation goes back to Amamieu de Bésiade, to which Louis X, shortly before he became king of France  granted, on 5 January 1314, "a donation of thirty pounds tournament reward for his military services "
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the name of Avaray, borrowed from a seigneury of Orleans,in the Loire Valley  was joined to that of Bésiade. The members of this family were among the most loyal  partisans of Henry IV..One of them, the first Marquis of Avaray, was a great bailiff of Orleans, and it became a hereditary function of the family.

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King Henry IV of France.
It was Claude Theophile de Bésiade, knight lord, then second marquis of Avaray, who had the mansion built.on the Rue de Grenelle. Born in 1655, lieutenant-general and knight of the order, the marquis made war on Holland and Spain. In 1707 he commanded the left wing of the army of Marshal the first Duke of  Berwick at the battle of Almanza, and the victory which secured the throne of Spain to Philip V., grandson of Louis XIV., was largely due to him .

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James Fitz-James  1st Duke of  Berwick.

King Philip V of Spain.


Flemish  D'Avaray tapestries.
These tapestries were sold by Christie's on a auction in New York in 1915.

He was then appointed governor of Flanders and Hainaut, which no doubt explains the presence of heavy Flemish tapestries from Brussels in most of the rooms of his mansion .They represented the seasons, the months of the year and  subjects borrowed from mythology. These weavers from Flanders  also supplied the window hangings and the trimming of the seats in crimson damask.
The Marquis,  had scarcely settled, in the mansion during 1723 when he was sent on another posting as ambassador to Switzerland . He rented the Hotel d'Avaray to Horace Walpole, the English ambassador to France from 1724 to 1727. , 
In 1727, the Marquis and the Marquise d'Avaray settled permanently in the hotel with three of their four children. The Marchioness died there the following year at the age of fifty-five. His eldest son, Theophilus, died in Italy in 1735 at the age of thirty-nine from wounds inflicted at the battle of Guastella, in which he had taken part as a brigadier of the infantry.
Towards the end of 1742, the wife of their  younger son, Charles Théophile, died in the camp in front of Cambrai where she had visited her husband. She was barely thirty. 
  In 1745, the old marquis himself the  age of ninety years. 

  A portrait of the marquis, Claude Théophile Béziade  painted by Hyacinth Rigaud in 1716, hung in a  place of honor in the salon of the rue de Grenelle . 

The hotel which Claude Theophile had created remained undivided between Charles, now Marquis d'Avaray, and his elder sister, Madame d'Aubercourt.
Charles died on May 30 1746 of smallpox he contracted in Flanders. He left two sons of ten and six. Claude Antoine shared the interest of the mansion with his elder brother ,who was colonel of the Grenadier, .until he unfortunately died at the age of twenty one .When Madame d'Aubercourt -his aunt died without having a child- he inherited  the Hotel D'Avaray in 1776
As the fourth Marquis d'Avaray, Claude Antoine de Bésiade (1740-1829) had a interesting life . A swordsman like his ancestors, he was captain of cavalry during the Seven Years' War. Wounded at Minden,as Field Marshal , he was sent by the Orleans nobility to the Constituent Assembly in 1781. When the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was presented to the Assembly during the French Revolution , Avaray,  rose and presented to his colleagues the  declaration of the Duties of Man and of the Citizen.
 The hostilities  marked by  the new regime towards the nobility of France was shared by his family. The King and Queen and their family were  imprisoned. At the end of 1791, D'Avaray's three sons and two sons-in-law emigrated and left France to save their lives . Unlike many aristocrats who, made advances to the new regime but fell victim to the Terror, the  Marquis d'Avaray escaped the guillotine. He was arrested with his wife- Angelique de Mailly- daughter of  Louis Duke de Mailly-Rebumbré - towards the end of the Terror - but was saved by the 9th Thermidor.He then joined his family in exile and only returned  to France after the fall of Napoleon .The Hôtel d'Avaray, which became a national property, is listed in the foundation established by the Revolution, under  number 371. The Marquis  d'Avaray, was confided for more than six years to the  Chateau D'Avaray in the Loire Valley before his arrest .
 For more than twenty years the hotel in the Rue de Grenelle had remained almost constantly uninhabited. In the years following 1814 it was the subject of numerous restorations.
The marquis who had been welcomed by Louis XVIII, while still in England,  was granted the title of Duke in 1817. In fact, this  eldest son, Antoine Louis François (1759-1811) had  received this title before him . Being the Master of Monsieur's  wardrobe, the young d'Avaray succeeded in organizing  the escape of Monsieur -the doomed King's -brother from the Luxembourg Palace to Belgium. Having taken the title of king, Louis XVIII  appointed d'Avaray captain of his guards, and granted him the  favor of placing on his family coat of arms ,  the lilies of France, as well as the flattering motto: VICIT ITER DURUM PIETAS.(Loyalty finds a way over even the stoniest road)

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Prince Condé.

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 Louis Antoine , Duke of Angoulême.

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Marie Therese of France .

The man whom the king called "his dear d'Avaray," helped his master to leave Verona, and join the army of Prince Condé, encamped on the right bank of the Rhine. Having restored  the union of the royalists, d'Avaray negotiated the liberation of  Marie Therese of  France -the daughter of Louis XVI and  Marie Antoinette , and  arranged her marriage to  the Duke of Angouleme.

On the day of this marriage , Louis XVIII bestowed the dukedom to D'Avaray on hm.. In 1799, Antoine was the first Duke of the famous line of the Béziade family . He died at Madeira on June 4, 1811, his health having suffered severely from the London climate. Faithful to his remembrance, Louis XVIII, , brought back his ashes to France, and, made his father a duke as well. Armand Louis Théophile, who had fought with the Army of  Princes, was shot in 1795 during the Quiberon affair.
 The Hotel d'Avaray became the property of the third brother Joseph Théophile Parfait (1770-1859), lieutenant- General under the Restoration, who lived there until his death.
  During this time the  heirs share different apartments of the mansion . As early as 1825, the first floor at the back of the hotel had been successively rented to many tenants, among whom were the Dukes of Caraman and Vallombroza.

 Count Durazzo.

Duke of Caraman.

Among the other tenants of the  apartments of the hotel,  were Marquise de Courtomer and Marquis Durazzo,

Countess Louise -Marie-Antonie Béziade D'Avaray- Wife of  Auderic Comte de Moustier 

Among the other tenants of the  apartments of the hotel were Countess Auderic Moustier the daughter of Edouard the Duke of D'Avaray .She died in the Charity Bazaar fire in Paris on May 4 1897.
The Bazar de la Charité " was an annual charity event organized by the French Catholic  aristocracy in Paris from 1885 onward. It is best known for the fire at the 1897 bazaar that claimed 126 lives, many of them aristocratic women.The most famous of who was Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Alencon nee Sophie Charlotte of Bavaria die sister of the famous Austrian Empress Sissie

On the death of the Countess Auderic Moustier, the ground floor of the hotel was rented  to the Comtesse de Choiseul d'Aillecourt and later to M. Foucher-Lepelletier, deputy of the Seine.

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Francoise-  Adelaide-Caroline Eugenie-Marie of  Mercy D'Argenteau .
Daughter of Earl  D' Mercy D'Argenteau and Louise de Riquet of Caraman- Chimey .
Married the Duke D"Avaray in 1883 and divorced in him 1892.

The  Princess of Montglyon, and the last Duchess of D'Avaray notes in a book of memoirs that the house terrified her, and  that she fled as often as possible from that place which took away her joy and youth. She divorced the Duke and at the end died in the USA in 1925.

Chateau de Mareil le Guyon .

On October 31, 1894, the  owner of the hotel in the Rue de Grenelle, Jules Victor Camille de Bésiade, Duke of Avaray, died at the Chateau de Mareil. The hotel was sold by his son to the Government of the Netherlands by a deed dated April 1, 1920.

For more on the Duke D'Avaray's family- click on the top link.

Watch a video about the Hotel D'Avaray .

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