}  

Another side of Mme Porgès social and private life
Grand Dukes and Diamonds (Excerpts) by Raleigh Trevelyan

Jules Porges

Jules Porgès
(b. 25/05/1839 Vienna, d. 20/09/1921 Paris)
married Rose-Anne WODIANER
"Fotograf Adler, Carlsbad, Prag"
(Courtesy of Comte Michel de la Forest Divonne)

Jules Porges
"Jules Porgès - who started it all"

 

Chateau de Rochefort

The Porgès Château
at Rochefort en Yvelines (near Paris)

Jules Porgès built the
Château of Rochefort en Yvelines,
in the Paris neighbourhood, for his wife and his daughter. He and his wife are buried in the Rochefort cemetery. The register of the town hall of Rochefort mentions that his death was declared by his grand-son-in-law, Count Arnaud de Gontaut-Biron. In the 1980's the property was transformed by its Japanese owner into a private golf club and a part of the castle is used as a club-house.



L'an de N.S. mil neuf cent vingt-et-un et le 9 octobre, Jules Porgès, de la paroisse de Rochefort-en-Yvelines, âgé de 82 ans a rendu son âme à Dieu, après avoir reçu les sacrements de l'Église.
Son corps a été inhumé dans le cimetière de Rochefort.

Death register of the parish of Rochefort. Courtesy of Madeleine Sandrea

A dark side ....
Jules Porgès and the Dreyfus Affair

Guerre civile en puissance.

... Et l'antisémitisme? Si nous en disions deux mots? L'autre jour M. Drumont écrivait que << le sang des juifs ruissellerait sur les échafauds >>. En vain les condamnés offriraient leurs biens pour sauver leur tête : on les leur aurait déjà pris. C'est bien de l'antisémitisme, cela, je suppose. On allèguera peut-être que c'est là une opinion individuelle et que M. Drumont a été obligé d'aller jusqu'en Afrique pour trouver un mandat de député français. Il n'en est pas moins vrai que son journal se trouve dans tous les châteaux, dans toutes les sacristies et que son coadjuteur Guérin a tenu le gouvernement en échec pendant plusieurs semaines, au coeur même de Paris, avec une troupe armée. Il y a fallu, sans doute, la couardise du ministère : aussi l'audace des révoltés Je n'ai pas besoin de rappeler les troubles d'Alger réprimés par la République avec moins de rigueur que les grèves du François ou de Chalon. L'affaire Dreyfus ainsi se trouve mise dans son cadre. Un malheureux qui était au bagne depuis plusieurs années vient d'être reconnu innocent. Puisqu'il n'est pas juif les juges auront toute liberté de lui faire justice
J'ai longtemps cru que le procès de Dreyfus, d'Esterhazy, de Zola, de Picquart, marqueraient l'étiage des sauvageries où pouvaient se répandre l'esprit romain dans la patrie de la Revolution française. Je n'en suis plus du tout certain aujourd'hui, et il y a de cela plusieurs causes. D'abord la psychologie des juifs ne les pousse pas à se mettre en bataille. Leur histoire les montre capables de révolte et de ténacité combative, mais ils ont remarquablement conservé le trait oriental du courage passif poussé jusqu'à l'extrême Peu d'entre nous peut-être auraient été capables de supporter dans un stoïque silence les quatre années de tortures à l'île du Diable. Mais, l'épreuve traversée, se trouvant face à face, en présence de nouveaux juges, avec Boisdeffre, avec Mercier, quel Celte ou quel Latin ne leur eût cinglé la face de leur crime? Dreyfus innocent, Dreyfus survivant, invaincu, au plus effroyable supplice, a pu demeurer maître de lui-même. Je l'admets brisé par le désespoir et la maladie. Même dans l'agonie, il en est qui eussent crié. Sa mentalité de race, sa discipline de soldat ne lui ont pas permis ce beau coup de théatre
Pour ses coreligionnaires, on peut dire d'une façon générale qu'ils ont été trop méthodiquement bâtonnés pendant trop de siècles pour n'en avoir pas gardé quelque chose comme un pli d'échine qui les dispose au rôle de martyrs. Et puis, il y dans les races des dons de flexibilité ou de raideur. Le colon d'Amérique n'a jamais pu soumettre le Peau-Rouge qui se refuse au travail servile et n'avait pour préoccupation, aussitôt domestiqué, que de tuer son maître. Au contraire, les nègres d'Afrique ont prospéré dans l'esclavage. C'est ainsi que l'affaire Dreyfus a trouvé les Juifs plus accoutumés à l'injustice, plus façonnés aux coups qu'il n'aurait fallu pour une énergie de victoire. De fait le prolétariat juif n'est pas plus que le prolétariat dit chrétien en état de se défendre. Mais les grands seigneurs d'Israël, comme tous les observateurs de bonne foi l'ont noté, loin de s'organiser en << syndicat >> - épouvantail destiné à masquer le trop réel fonctionnement de la caisse noire romaine - ne souhaitaient rien tant que le silence sur le prisonnier de l'Ile du Diable. L'un d'eux dit ce mot charmant à un << Intellectuel >> de mes amis : << Vous nous défendez bien. Mais je puis bien vous dire que nous aimerions mieux n'être pas défendus, car alors on ne nous attaquerait pas >>. Et comme l'autre répondait : « Je ne vous défends pas, je défends la justice tout simplement >>, le Grand Juif répliqua « Ah si seulement vous pouviez la défendre à propos d'un chrétien!>>. J'ai déjà cité le propos d'un banquier juif, un directeur d'un grand journal de Paris, le jour même du verdict de Rennes : « Quelle chance! s'il avait été acquitté, c'est à nous qu'on aurait fait payer les pots cassés ». Il est certain que cette campagne a eu pour résultat de terrifier tous les juifs de « la haute », reniés maintenant par l'aristocratie bien pensante qui honorait jadis leurs chasses de sa présence et maintenant fait masse derrière M. Drumont.

Je ne dis rien des renégats, de Porgès à Arthur Meyer, servant à quatre pattes "le Saint-Père et le Roi ", en échange des affronts qui ne leur sont pas ménagés.

Le plus clair résultat de tout ceci, c'est que la mentalité juive est un des facteurs les plus importants de la situation défavorable faite présentement aux fils d'Israël dans la France catholique et républicaine. Mais la mentalité chrétienne, comme on pense, ne laisse pas d'y tire pour sa bonne part. Notre républicaine << chrétienté >> se compose d'éléments divers. Nourri dans la haine du juif, le clergé d'église et de couvent regrette ses anciens bûchers, instruments fameux des « actes de foi ». La << race déicide >> y figurait en compagnie de toutes les hérésies, et c'est un des signes de notre temps que l'antisémitisme de M. Drumont se complète de l'antiprotestantisme de M. Georges Thiébaud et de l'antilibre-pensée de M. Jules Lemaltre. Trois têtes sous la même calotte romaine.
Je n'ignore pas qu'en face de cette prédication d'intolérance, se dresse le pouvoir laïque de justice et de liberté issu de la Révolution française.

....

Excerpts from La Honte (1903) by Georges Clémenceau

1899 Affaire Dreyfus. I, L’Iniquité
1899 Affaire Dreyfus. II,Vers la réparation
1900 Affaire Dreyfus. III, Contre la justice
1900 Affaire Dreyfus. IV, Des juges
1901 Affaire Dreyfus. V, Justice militaire
1902 Affaire Dreyfus. VI, Injustice militaire
1903 Discours pour la liberté
1903 Affaire Dreyfus. VII, La Honte

Captain Alfred Dreyfus was the highest-ranking Jewish artillery officer in the French army. He was charged with passing military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, and in 1894 was convicted of treason and imprisoned on Devil's Island. The conviction was based on documents which were found in the waste-paper basket of the German military attaché, Major Max von Schwartzkoppen, and which initially appeared to the French military authorities to implicate Dreyfus. Fearing that the sometimes anti-Semitic press would learn of the affair and accuse the French army of covering up for a Jewish officer, the French military command pushed for an early trial and conviction. By the time they realised that they had very little evidence against Dreyfus (and that what they had was not at all conclusive), it was already politically impossible to withdraw the prosecution without provoking a political scandal that some feared would have brought down the French government[citation needed]. The subsequent court martial was notable for numerous errors of procedure. Most notably, the defense was unaware of a secret dossier which the prosecution provided to the military judges. The withholding of this dossier made Dreyfus' trial illegal under French law.The dishonourable discharge of Dreyfus.L'Aurore's front page on 13 January 1898 features Emile Zola's open letter to the French President Félix Faure regarding the Dreyfus Affair.
Alfred Dreyfus was put on trial in 1894 and was accused of espionage, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on Devil's Island. In June 1899 the case was reopened, following the uncovering of exonerating evidence, and France's Court of Cassation overturned his conviction and ordered a new court martial. Despite the new evidence presented at his new military trial, Dreyfus was reconvicted in September and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was subsequently pardoned by President Émile Loubet and freed, but would not be formally exonerated until July 12, 1906, when the Court of Cassation annulled his second conviction.
He was thereafter readmitted to the army and made a knight in the Legion of Honour. Dreyfus was recommissioned to serve behind the lines of the Western Front during World War I as a Lieutenant-Colonel of Artillery though he did perform some front-line duties in 1917. He served his nation with distinction beyond his natural retirement age.The Dreyfus Affair was one of the most important scandals of the French Third Republic, if not the most important. The Affair deeply divided the country into Dreyfusards (those supporting Dreyfus) and anti-Dreyfusards (those against). Generally speaking, royalists, conservatives and the Catholic Church (the "right wing") were anti-dreyfusards while socialists, republicans and anticlericalists (the "left wing") were dreyfusards, though there were exceptions.
The Dreyfus Affair could not have happened in a country wholly antisemitic, nor in a country devoid of antisemitism. Indeed, Alfred Dreyfus, openly Jewish, had been admitted to the most selective military schools in the country, and had been commissionned into a sensitive position; this was, at the time, unheard of in several other European countries, where policies of discrimination were often in place. The Affair then greatly split French society and had important political repercussions; it contributed to the radicalization of opinion against the Catholic Church and the "clerical" party, which resulted in the 1905 French law on the separation of Church and State.
The writer Émile Zola is often thought to have exposed the affair to the general public in a famously incendiary open letter to which the French statesman and journalist Georges Clémenceau appended the eye-catching title "J'accuse!" (I Accuse!); it was published January 13, 1898 in the newspaper L'Aurore (The Dawn). In the words of historian Barbara Tuchman, it was "one of the great commotions of history." Zola was convicted of libel and was forced to flee the country.Faure to which the French statesman and journalist Georges Clemenceau appended the eye-catching title "J'accuse!" (I Accuse!); it was published January 13, 1898 in the newspaper L'Aurore (The Dawn). In the words of historian Barbara Tuchman, it was "one of the great commotions of history." Zola was convicted of libel and was forced to flee the country.

A bright side ....
Henriette de la Ferté Meun, the daughter of Jules Porgès nominated in 2005
Juste de France for her righteous actions during WWII

As reported by Yad Vashem, Henriette Porgès, Marquise de la Ferté Meun,
has been nominated in 2005 Juste de France for her righteous actions during WWII.
LES JUSTES DE FRANCE > Tous les Justes de France > Dossier n° 1058


" The Felzen family left Poland for France in 1910. They had three children: Albertine, Henri and Pauline.
Mr Felsen volunteered during the First World War.
In 1920, the family became French citizens and bought a cafe in 6th arrondissement of Paris.
In 1941, Albertine was arrested by the police but as a French national was subsequently released.
Her husband managed to escape, taking shelter with non-Jewish friends and then fleeing into non-occupied France.
In 1942, Albertine, aware of the growing threat, abandoned everything and fled into non-occupied France with her three-year-old daughter Nicole.
There she rejoined her family in the Indre where they were sheltered by the Marquis Eugène de la Ferté, the mayor of the village of Maron, and his wife.
The couple, recognizing the Felzens' destitution, found them shelter, bedding, blankets, food and heating.
The Felzens were not the only family protected by the mayor and his wife; they also cared for the Halkin and Pinszowski families.
Their generosity was unflagging.
At great risk to their own safety, they not only helped but saved 15 members of a single family."
Source : http://www.yadvashem-france.org/justes-france/?mode=detail&number=10583

LES JUSTES DE FRANCE > Tous les Justes de France > Dossier n° 10583
Date de nomination : 2005
DE LA FERTE Eugène (René????) , DE LA FERTE Henriette
Maron :Château de Rezay, Indre, Centre

La famille Felzen arrive de Pologne en 1910.
Trois enfants vont naître : Albertine, Henri et Pauline. M. Felzen s'est engagé en 1914/1918.
La famille est naturalisée française en 1920 et achète un café dans le 6ème arrondissement à Paris.
En 1941, Albertine est arrêtée par la police puis relâchée car française.
Son mari a réussi à s'enfuir, à se réfugier chez des amis non-juifs et à rejoindre la zone libre.
En 1942, Albertine sent le danger grandir et abandonne tout pour partir avec sa fille de 3 ans, Nicole, pour la zone libre.
Elle rejoint sa famille dans l'Indre. Ils sont accueillis par le Marquis Eugène de la Ferté, maire du village de Maron, et sa femme.
Voyant leur dénuement, ils leur procurent un logement, des lits, des couvertures, de la nourriture et un poêle.
La famille Felzen n'est pas la seule famille protégée par le maire et sa femme. Il y a eu aussi les familles Halkin, Pinszowski.
Leur générosité est inlassable. Ils ont sauvé et aidé 15 personnes d'une même famille au péril de leur vie.

 

Another side of Mme Porgès social and private life

Paul Morand

 

Journal d'un Atttaché d'Ambassade
(1916 - 1917)

 

La Table Ronde (Paris)

 

Madame J. Porgès has a hospital in Rochefort, according to Proust who tells the following story:

"A wounded French soldier, coming out of a coma, found Mme Porgès standing at his bedside; upon hearing her accent like some German Shylock, he cried out, "Oh God, I've been taken prisoner!""

A small dinner at the Ritz with Hélène and Proust.

Proust describes the startling personality of old Lubersac, greedy, mean, who beat his coachmen, refused to repair his rental properties and never paid for the services of Dr. Proust.

Having been the lover of Mme. Porgès, Lubersac became fiercely anti-Semitic and forced each of his sons to fight a duel with one or another of the Rothschilds at the time of the Dreyfus affair; as there weren't enough of these latter, he had to wait for the youngest of them to attain his majority so he could challenge him.


Biographies of Jules Porgès

Jules Porgès (1839-1921)

Jules PorgèsMining magnate. Born in Prague, settled in Paris in the 1860s and became a leading diamond merchant.
Both Alfred Beit and Sir Julius Wernher worked for him and were sent by him to Kimberley.
He himself arrived there in 1875 and became a successful operator in shares, claims and stones, later extending operations (establishing the firm of H. Eckstein) to the Witwatersrand in 1887.
In 1880 he returned to Europe. He retired from business in 1889, but long outlived both Beit and Wernher.

Sir Julius Charles WERNHER (1850-1912) Julius Wernher

Mining magnate.
Born in Darmstadt, Germany, where his father was attached to the Grand-Ducal court, he entered a London bank as a learner, served in the Prussian cavalry in the Franco-German War of 1870-1871, and, like Alfred Beit, took a post in Paris with Jules Porgès. Porgès sent him to Kimberley, where he was elected to the Mining Board and soon gained wealth and prominence. After the discovery of the Rand he extended his operations to the Transvaal. In 1888 he became one of the four original 'Life Governers' of De Beers Consolidated Mines. He settled in London as Porgès' partner and, when the latter retired in 1889, continued operations under the name of Wernher, Beit and Co., the largest mining house in South Africa, if not in the world, controlling the Rand Mines group and other huge interests. Apart from occasional visits to South Africa, he spent the rest of his life in England. A noted art collector, he died, leaving the largest South African fortune on record - over 11 000 000.

Alfred BEIT (1853-1906) Alfred Beit

Capitalist and co-founder with Cecil Rhodes of Southern Rhodesia.
Born in Hamburg in the same year as Rhodes, of an old Jewish family. He learnt the diamond trade under Jules Porgès in Amsterdam and elsewhere. In 1875 he went to Port Elizabeth on behalf of his cousins, the Lipperts, who sent him to Kimberley as their representative. There he came into touch with Julius Wernher and with Cecil Rhodes. Attaining considerable prosperity as a diamond merchant, he became a member of the firm of Jules Porgès and Co., and on the retirement of Porgès, he and Wernher converted this firm in 1884 to Wernher, Beit and Co. Returning to England he joined forces with Rhodes in his efforts to amalgamate the diamond mines, which resulted in the foundation of De Beers. A Life Governor of De Beers, he was one of the principal figures in the foundation of the Chartered Company and in the first efforts to open up Rhodesia. Wernher, Beit and Co. presently became leaders in Barberton and then in the Witwatersrand gold industry. Beit visited Rhodesia in the very early days, but kept his headquarters in London. Unlike Rhodes, he did his utmost to keep out of politics, though his friendship with him remained undiminished, and he was one of the main trustees and heirs under his will. Upon Alfred Beit's death the Beit Trust came into existence. He also bequeathed enormous sums for university education and research in South Africa, Rhodesia, Britain and Germany.

Große Jüdische National-Biographie (S. Wininger) :

" He came to Paris in the 1860's and played a prominent role in the emerging South-African mining industry . He became one of the first mining tycoons, with Rhodes and Werner-Beith .
Even as a naturalized French, he provided a lot of help to the Austrians much before the war. His Palace in Paris was the center of the fashionable Parisian Life. His wife, born Wodianer, assisted him in the achievement of their social obligations with an exceptional kindness. Mrs. Anna Porgès was the sister of Mrs. Ida Gutmann, widow of the industrialist Wilhelm v. Gutmann and Mrs. Pringsheim of Berlin.
Jules Porgès was one of the most eminent art collectors in Paris. He was an exceptional expert in Dutch art masterpieces, which were represented, in his gallery of avenue Montaigne, by the beautiful and rare paintings of van Dyck, Franz Hals and Ruysdael. "
(Neue Freie Preß. 4 Oct 1921)

Dictionary of South African Bibliography ( Vol. II, Pretoria, 1983) :

" Diamond merchant and mining entrepreneur, was of Jewish parentage and brought up in Prague, where his father was a master jeweller.
During the 1860's, he settled in Paris, changed his name Julius (originally Yehuda) to Jules and quickly amassed a fortune as a diamond merchant.
At the time of the Kimberley discoveries, Jules Porgès & Co, was the greatest and wealthiest diamond firm in the world, with a large stake in the diamond-cutting trade of Amsterdam.
Porgès quick to recognize that the output from the Griqualand West mines would transform the whole nature and scale of the world market in precious stones, in 1873 sent Alfred Beit and Julius Wernher to South Africa as the firm's representatives, with instructions to report regularly on new discoveries.
Three years later, Porgès himself arrived in Kimberley, immediately becoming a major figure in the local gem stone market as well as in the buying and selling of digger's claims.
He thus played the complex , double role of producer and merchant of diamonds.
At first, his interests extended to all four of the principal mines (De Beers, Bultfontein, Dutoitspan, and Kimberley), but by 1879 he had come to concentrate increasingly on the Kimberley mine, setting up a subsidiary to control it, the Compagnie Française de Diamant du Cap de Bonne Espérance, which had an initial capital of fourteen million francs divided in 500 francs shares.
Within two years, the French company was paying out dividends of eighty francs per share.
Through Beit, Porgès became a close business associate of C.J. Rhodes, who eventually induced him to persuade the French shareholders to dispose of their interests to the new De Beers combine.
In this way, Porgès became a leading figure in the amalgamation movement, which culminated in August 1887, when a syndicate, formed by the Rothschilds, advanced the sum of 1,400,000 for the purchase of the French shares.
Porgès was related to Rudolphe Kann, a famous financier of Paris, and through him succeeded in interesting the Rothschilds, who provided the capital that Rhodes needed to buy Kimberley Central shares.
Though Beit is usually credited with raising money that brought Barney Barnato to terms, it was in fact Porgès who was responsible.
Meanwhile, Porgès had returned to Europe in 1880, but revisited South Africa after the opening-up of the Witwatersand gold fields.
In association with Beit and Wernher, but also making much use of the services of Hermann Eckstein and Eduard Lippert, Porgès acquired stakes in many mining properties in and around Johannesburg.
He also was the founder of the famous mining and financial group known as the 'Corner House' (their offices were erected on a corner at the site of Market Square, Johannesburg).
In 1890, he retired from South African business, most of his widespread interests being taken over by the newly established firm of Wernher, Beit & Co.
Porgès was a man of great elegance and charm and also one of the shrewdest of businessmen.
He shunned publicity and there were no announcements of his retirement, or farewell speeches.
South African history scarcely mentions him, and there is no biography or painted portrait of him.
Yet he had a profound influence on the affairs of the Transvaal Republic and was the founder of the firm which eventually became the Central Mining & Investment Corporation of London and Johannesburg.
A photograph of him appears in Cartwright (infra).

P. H. EMDEN, Randlords, London, 1935; - A.P. CARTWRIGHT, The Corner House : the early history of Johannesburg. Jbg 1965



Grand Dukes and Diamonds

The Wehrners of Luton Hoo

By Raleigh Trevelyan
Secker & Warburg, London 1991
© Raleigh Trevelyan

To read extensive excerpts of the book, click here.

Offices of Beit and Porges

The second Corner House


The Porges diamond

The Porges Diamond is a Fancy Yellow diamond weighing 78.53 carats and was bought by Harry Winston in 1962 who named it, as a tribute to the French diamond mining pioneer, Jules Porges. Winston mounted the stone so that it may be worn either as a brooch, within a frame set with cabochon-cut emeralds and rubies or as a single stone, set within a simple ring mount. The current owner purchased it from Harry Winston directly in 1968 and as record books indicate, the whereabouts were unknown until now.


Jules Porges (1839-1921), descended from a prominent Austro-Hungarian family, was born in Vienna and was raised in Prague, where his father was a master jeweler. By the 1860s he had settled in Paris where he quickly established himself as a principal force in the diamond trade and founded Jules Porges & Company. Just outside Paris, he built a spectacular château in Rochefort-en-Yvelines for his wife and daughter and his residence in Paris was located on the Avenue Montaigne, where he housed an important art collection, focusing on Dutch masters such as Hals and van Dyck. By the time diamonds were discovered in South Africa, he had amassed a tremendous fortune and was considered the leading diamond merchant in the world. Quickly realizing the potential of these newly discovered mines, he dispatched Alfred Beit and Julius Wernher in 1873 to act as his representatives in this new venture and in 1876, Porges himself arrived in Kimberley, playing the unusual role as both consumer and producer of diamonds. Although he had invested in the mining rights of the four major mines (De Beers, Bultfontein, Dutoitspan, and Kimberley), by 1879 he was almost completely focused on Kimberley and had become a close associate of Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes eventually convinced the French investors to sell their shares to the newly formed De Beers firm. Jules Porges quietly retired in 1890.

The Porges is an Asscher-cut Fancy Yellow diamond, SI1 clarity, and it figured as Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale of April 19th and 20th, 2004. It was Lot 473 in Sale 1362, with an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 US (sold $769.100 US). The brooch in the photo, created by Harry Winston, is set with Old Mine and Old European cut diamonds in a freeform design around the Porges itself. These are enhanced by scattered cabochon-cut rubies and emerald with a total approximate weight of 23.90 and 15.00 carats, respectively. They are mounted in platinum and yellow gold. According to the text of the auction the piece is accompanied by a gold ring mounting and a screwdriver to transfer the Porges Diamond back and forth. Also included was a Harry Winston black suede case.

http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/porgesdiamond.html


About the social life of Jules Porgès and his wife in Paris
Source : Emmanuel Mollot , Rochefort-en-Yvelines (2000)

50 ans de panache

....
J'ai dit ce qu'étaient, avant 1914, les soirées de l'ambassade d’Autriche-Hongrie quand, dans les salons de l'hôtel Matignon, les plus brillants cavaliers faisaient tourner, au rythme de la valse, les plus jolies femmes de Paris ... et quelques têtes. Pas de fête sans la présence du prince de Hohenlohe, des comtes Nemès, Festeties, Tarnovski, Schoenborn, du baron Léon de Vaux, du baron Oscar de Gautsch et Rodolphe de Mittag, valseur irrésistible, qui avait dérobé le Coeur d'une grande dame de chez nous.
L'ambassade avait à Paris une véritable annexe officieuse : l'hôtel Porgès, avenue Montaigne. Mme Jules Porgès, qui était viennoise, avait fait construire ce vaste hôtel d'allure majestueuse et de style incertain dont les salons, emplis de toiles anciennes autant que des salles de musée, servirent de cadre à bien des fêtes. Elle avait aussi à Rochefort-en-Yvelines un château confortable et somptueux à la manière d'un Palace.
Le comte de Khevenhuller, l'ambassadeur d'Autriche-Hongrie, le baron de Vaux, les secrétaires de l'ambassade étaient chez eux avenue Montaigne, mais aussi le comte Chevreau, dont l'hôtel de la rue Monsieur est devenu propriété de Mme Georges Menier ( Il s'agit de l'ancien hôtel du comte de Jarnac construit sur l'emplacement d'un couvent de Barnabites...). Causeur brillant, Urbain Chevreau descendait du ministre de Napoléon III, et aussi de ce curieux personnage qui fut secrétaire des commandements de la reine Christine de Suède et qui prépara le mariage de Monsieur, frère de Louis XIV avec la princesse Charlotte-Elisabeth. Il faisait de fréquents séjours à Lausanne, la «Babel du Gotha », d'où il m'envoyait souvent de longues lettres emplies de tous les potins du jour.
L'hôtel Porgès avait été acheté avant la guerre par une société et les Allemands s'y installèrent en arrivant à Paris. Ils édifièrent dans le jardin un fabuleux blockhaus qui n 'est guère moins haut que l 'hôtel lui-même et qu'on a renoncé à faire sauter. Ce rocher de béton commence, grâce aux mousses et aux lichens, à acquérir quelque patine.
Au lendemain de la guerre, l'Autriche, qui n'avait plus d'ambassade à Paris, acquit, pour sa légation, un hôtel rue Beaujon. En mars 1937, le ministre, M. Vollgrüber, y donnait une réception en l'honneur de M. Ernst Buschbeck, conservateur de la Czernin Galerie de Vienne, venu faire une causerie sur l'Exposition d'Art autrichien du Jeu de Paume. M. Vollgrüber nous quitta pour devenir secrétaire général du ministère des Affaires Etrangères à Vienne.
M. H. D. Schmid, qui avait été le collaborateur de son prédécesseur à la Légation ....

(André de Fouquières, 50 ans de panache, Éditions Pierre Horay, p. 314-315)

Mon Paris et ses Parisiens

...
prêtaient les plus fameux comédiens du temps: Got, Samson, Geoffroy, Madeleine Brohan, Mme Favart. Les invités avaient reçu des programmes qui portaient l'en-tête : Théâtre de Pompeï, réouverture après 1800 ans de relâche, pour cause de réparations...
Après son mariage avec la princesse Clotilde d'Italie, le fils du roi Jérôme vendit sa Maison Pompéienne Il ne se trouva personne pour reprendre à son compte cette fantaisie toute ... impériale : l’ « impluvium » central servit quelque temps de bassin à un montreur de phoques savants et les badauds foulèrent les dalles où les dames de la Cour avaient dansé leurs premières valses en balançant leurs crinolines. Puis, en 1891, l'année même où « Plon-Plon » , comme on appelait familièrement le Prince, quittait ce monde dans un hôtel de Milan, le palais fut démoli. Quelques vestiges, paraissant dignes d'être conservés, furent transportés à l'hôtel de Sully, rue Saint-Antoine.
Le banquier Jules Porgès commanda plus tard à Samson, l'architecte élu alors par le gratin, l'hôtel qui devait remplacer la Maison Pompéienne. Hôtel qu'on voit encore aujourd'hui, mais déshonoré par le blockhaus que les Allemands y ont dressé pendant l'occupation. Inexpugnable, l'énorme monstre de béton n'aurait pu être dynamité sans danger pour les demeures voisines.
L'hôtel Porgès connut une période brillante. La maîtresse de maison donnait des fêtes somptueuses, accueillant avec une infinie bonne grâce ses invités en haut du magnifique escalier de marbre. Tout se déroulait selon les rites d'une cérémonie assez pompeuse, mais ce que ces réunions eussent pu avoir d'un peu solennel était joyeusement animé par la présence de l'ambassadeur de la Double Monarchie, le comte de Khevenhuller, hôte régulier et plein de séduction de Mme Porgès, par les jeunes diplomates austro-hongrois, tous incomparables valseurs, par l'ami espagnol de la maison, le comte de Casa-Sedano, qui apportait là sa bonne humeur et son entrain. Au cours d'une de ces soirées, je conduisis le cotillon avec la fille de Mme Porgès, la marquise de La Ferté-Meun.
Après la mort de Mme Porgès, l'hôtel fut vendu, puis ce fut la guerre. En même temps qu'ils occupaient le 18, les Allemands s'installèrent aussi au 20, dans l'hôtel de Mme Edgar Stern, qui y avait réuni une belle collection d'objets et de meubles Louis XVI. Tout fut pillé. Après l'armistice, parmi les oeuvres d'art volées à Mme E. Stern et qui purent être récupérées, on découvrit un buste de Sophie Arnoult, par Houdon. En témoignage de gratitude pour leurs trésors retrouvés, Mme Stern et ses enfants en firent don au musée du Louvre.
Aujourd'hui, ces deux résidences du 18 et du 20 sont la propriété de la Société des Glaces de Saint. Gobain.

(André de Fouquières, Mon Paris et ses Parisiens, Éditions Pierre Horay, p. 84-85)

La vie à Paris