On Monday a Parisian flat was opened for the first time in 70 years.
Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris' 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900.
"There was a smell of old dust," said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery. Walking under high wooden ceilings, past an old wood stove and stone sink in the kitchen, he spotted a stuffed ostrich and a Mickey Mouse toy dating from before the war, as well as an exquisite dressing table.
The owner, who died recently at age 91, had left the apartment before World War II and never returned. Of course, this tidbit only made the paper because of money - there was a valuable painting among the effects (€2 million), by an Italian painter named Boldini. But I'm so much more intrigued by the gesture of leaving an apartment closed for so long. Why did the young woman, who must have been only 19 or 20, suddenly depart? Why did she never want to return? A great tragedy, an iron will, regrets of youth? What kind of money must you have to simply forget about your apartment in the 9th? The psychology of it is so exotic, I'm tantalized.
A few more photos (AFP/Marc Ottavi):