Villa Windsor in the Bois de Boulogne

On November 14, about 20 AAPA members visited the Villa Windsor in the Bois de Boulogne. It’s the former home of Charles De Gaulle (from the Liberation until 1947), of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (from 1953 until their respective deaths in their bedrooms here in 1972 and 1986), and finally of the Harrods proprietor Mohamed Al-Fayed. None of these people owned the place – it always belonged to the Ville de Paris, and in 2018 the ageing Al-Fayed returned the lease to the city. 


The Ville de Paris charged the Fondation Mansart with turning the villa into a museum, which will open next year, and the foundation’s charming director Alexis Robin showed us around. We admired De Gaulle’s office, the separate but adjoining apartments of the Duke and Duchess, their various safes, the vast garden, and the bunker in the basement. Some of us living in less generously built Paris apartments admitted to twinges of envy. It was a privilege to see the building months before it opens to the public, and there is no more guaranteed source of media stories than the British royal family, including disgraced former members. 

Charles de Gaulle and his daughter

(Photos courtesy of Fondation Mansart)