I am off to France shortly. It’s another Landmarking holiday but with the added difference that I shall be in France and staying at the former weekend home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
This will be my second visit. Last year the day of departure coincided with the Royal Wedding. I had my own Royal Weekend in France which made up, somewhat, for missing the live broadcasts of Kate and William’s happy day.
La Maison des Amis is situated within the small estate that comprises The Moulin de la Tuilerie on the edge of the village of Gif sur Yvette in the Essonne department of France. We didn’t use it last year but there’s an RER train link with the centre of Paris and the journey takes about 40 minutes. We’re hoping to have a little trip to town this time. We don’t have too many plans but we have reserved at a restaurant in Versailles for lunch on the Sunday.
La Maison Des Amis (rear)
There are three rental properties on the site. Le Moulin itself (which sleeps 12 in total) and which the Duke and Duchess themselves occupied for their weekends away from Paris and La Maison de Amis (sleeps 4) and Le Celibataire (sleeps 2) where their guests – people like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor (I sleep in their room!), Cecil Beeton, Marlene Dietrich and Maria Callas – were accommodated very comfortably.
Le Moulin de la Tuilerie from ‘Cardiac Hill’ as the Duke of Windsor called it!
Those Windsors they recognised a great location when they saw it. In addition to being 40 minutes from the centre of Paris (or rather 35 minutes by Buick from their home in the Bois de Boulogne) the lovely old town of Versailles and its OTT palace and grounds are about 20 minutes away and as Landmark puts it :
“Just as for Edward and Wallis, still today this is a place for contrasts: a wonderful setting to play host, or enjoy deep tranquillity; an easy day trip by direct train to the bustle and culture of central Paris or the delights of Versailles, and yet a place where the city finally yields to deep countryside.”
Sunday evening strollers in the park at Versailles
There is plenty of good reading matter in the Landmark Library, as usual. We spent a lot of time looking through the Sothebys New York 1997 Sale Catalogue of the Windsors’ stuff.