Mona Bismarck American Center in Paris

10 Apr

34, avenue de New York

Built at the end of the nineteenth century, the hotel particulier, or Parisian townhouse, was reconfigured for Mona Bismarck in the late 1950’s by the celebrated French interior decorator Stéphane Boudin. The building retains the style of her era through the magnificent woodwork from a dismantled chateau, intricate and colorful Chinese wallpaper and spectacular chandeliers.

The airy, light-filled first floor salons have stunning views of the Seine and Eiffel Tower while the MONA Café on the ground floor leads out to a quiet, spacious terrace and private garden, providing an oasis of tranquility in the center of a bustling Paris.

The townhouse complements the cultural offerings of an elegant Parisian arrondissement that includes the Musée d’Art Moderne, Palais de Toyko, Musée Guimet and Musée Galliera.

The legendary Mona Bismarck (née Strader, 1897-1983) lived a glamorous and luxurious life, defying convention and later sharing her good fortune to support the arts, fashion and culture.

Following her marriage in 1926 to Harrison Williams, reputed to be among the very wealthiest men in America, Mona swiftly became known as one of the most glamorous and beautiful women in New York, and was named ‘the best-dressed woman in the world’ by the luminaries of fashion. Williams’ vast wealth and elevated position afforded Mona a lavish lifestyle, dividing their time between residences in New York, Palm Beach, Paris and Capri. Several years after the death of Harrison Williams in 1953, Mona married her longtime friend, Count Edward von Bismarck, the grandson of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

Her social circle included statesmen and politicians such as American Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower; royalty – the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Princess Grace of Monaco; and an impressive number of writers and artists, including Greta Garbo, Cristòbal Balienciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Paul Newman and Enrich Maria Remarque.

The Mona Bismarck American Center in Paris is a confirmed partner in our festival.