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Auteuil gained the additional reputation as a health center in the 1800s when therapeutic mineral springs were discovered.Several medical clinics sprouted up but they no longer exist.Madame Helvétius bought the three-acre property at #59 after she was widowed. The previous owner was none other than Maurice Quentin de la Tour, the famous rococo court portraitist.The original house is long gone and a modern apartment building erected in its place that, as things turned out, became my address for a few years.It was not the matron’s physical attraction so much as how she engaged people with her warmth, intellect and wit. They loved the country atmosphere and Madame’s relaxed, informal style.Eventually, the widowed Franklin would propose marriage to Madame, but she preferred to remain independent. Around the table they engaged in lively discussions as well as flirtations – like coquettish little fights over cream – while a menagerie of 18 ribboned angora cats, canaries, two coiffed lap dogs and assorted chickens, pigeons and other animals wandered in, out and around the house.It was in the 17th century, however, that the pastoral atmosphere of Auteuil appealed to the upper classes in search of a reposing, healthful retreat.Soon Auteuil became home to some of the world’s most fascinating and illustrious literary and stage personalities – along with a mix of aristocrats and diplomats.
He was smitten with Madame’s refined charms, but so were many others.
Among the independent ladies were the writers and progressive thinkers Madeleine de Scudéry, Ninon de Lenclos and the prominent tragic actress, Marie Champmeslé (who died in Auteuil). Presidents – John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams – resided at #43-47 rue d’Auteuil in a house named Hôtel Antier that had been built for a renowned baroque opera singer, Marie Antier. Adams’ compatriot, Benjamin Franklin, and a very popular personality in French society, lived in nearby Passy, within walking distance to Auteuil.
Should you decide to dine at Le Mouton Blanc, you may feel the lingering presence of this group as their portraits hang on the walls looking over the diners. The Adams family lived in Auteuil while John Adams negotiated treaties between France and the U. Adams and Franklin may have been born only 12 miles apart sharing similar backgrounds, but they were complete opposites when it came to style and outlook.
Thompson was a physicist/inventor, Harvard graduate and British military officer who opposed the “rebels.” After an attack on his home in New Hampshire, he had to leave town in a hurry leaving behind his rich and well-connected wife and an infant daughter.
For Thompson’s scientific achievements in thermodynamics, however, he received many honors and distinctions on both sides of the Atlantic.
During Franklin’s nine-year stay in Paris he could be seen on most Wednesday and Saturday afternoons at #59 rue d’Auteuil attending the reputed drawing-room parties (salons) of the elegant and aristocratic socialite-hostess, Mme.