Le Manoir Vézère

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14 May 2021  |  Holidays

History of this Belle Époque mansion

La Belle Époque was an era describing the last decades of the 19th Century, prior to the First World War - a simpler time of prosperity, optimism, elegance and progress.

The Arts flourished. Literature, music, theatre and visual arts gained recognition. It was a time of joie de vivre that witnessed a rapid rise in the power and wealth of the bourgeoisie. Parisian café society and private Salons flourished where wealthy patrons opened their homes to influential artists, politicians, diplomats and members of the aristocracy as well as the rising bourgeoisie.

One of the most interesting figures of that time, a lawyer and editor of the most influential paper in Paris, built this house as a summer retreat for his family in 1902. He was also an astute businessman who made a fortune from investments in public works and the developing electricity and telephone markets. His dealings with engineer Gustave Eiffel during the construction of the Panama Canal gained notoriety, and caught the attention of French novelist Émile Zola, a close friend of the artist Cézanne. Zola was inspired to write about it in his work Paris (1898).

A man of considerable drive and ambition, he served as a Senator for almost 20 years during the Troisième République and was awarded the Légion d’Honneur.

Following his death in 1914, he chose to be buried near his birthplace in South West France.

One of the eulogies commented 'He represented amongst us the finest French spirit, throughout his life remaining a man from the Midi even though he fine-tuned his character as a Parisien. The memory of this charming man, who was a happy man, will never leave us.'

In 1928 a street in the 16e arrondissement de Paris was named after him.

Three generations of his family continued to enjoy summer holidays here until the present owners purchased the house exactly a century after it was built.

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Author

Frances Thomson-Barrow

I am the property owner of Le Manoir Vézère in Peyzac-le-Moustier, France.

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