|Chateau La Napoule|
|Origins of Château La Napoule|
|Life & Times of the Clews|
|Destiny: Elsie Whelen|
|The War Years|
The War Years
Two years after the death of her husband, with war clouds gathering in Europe, Marie was advised by the American Embassy to leave her beloved Château She refused and, with little money and no protection, insisted on staying in the Château to guard her life's work when the war started. Marie had established a harmonious relationship with the French, so when they designated the Château as a strategic location and occupied it, they allowed her to stay in the gatehouse. She endured hunger and the fear of bombing. But when Italy entered the war, life at the Château became much worse. Due to well connected friends she was able to complete the task of removing and hiding nearly all the valuable furniture as well as the entire Clews collection. The major pieces where buried in the courtyard. The Louvre Museum assisted in finding secure places to preserve the other Clews sculptures.
When the Italians occupied the Château, a war tribunal indicted Marie for her support of the Allies. Only her friendship with Princess Maria of Savoy, daughter of the King of Italy, saved her. After Italy surrendered, the Germans occupied the Château and Marie was forced to relocate but she moved only four miles away to Cannes. Finally, on August 15, 1944, the Allies landed on the coast nearby. To her amazement, the American who actually liberated the Château was Marie's cousin, Colonel Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr. Returning to the Château Marie with her son by her first marriage, Ogden Goelet, established the Château as an outpost of the American Red Cross.
In 1951 she founded the La Napoule Art Foundation to preserve and protect the Château and the Clews collection. She dedicated her Foundation to the promotion of international understanding through the arts. This incredible woman died in 1959.
Hopefully, I've given you an understanding to the lives and times of the Clews, their passion both for each other and for the world of art. It is a remarkable story and a remarkable place to visit - yet tread carefully and gently for two souls guard their beloved home.
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Château de La Napoule
06210 Mandelieu-La Napoule
Tél. : 04 93 49 95 05
Fax : 04 92 97 62 71
Open 7th February to 7th November: non-stop from 10h00 to 18h00
Guided tours at 11h30, 14h30, 15h30 and 16h30.
Open 8th November to 6th February:
from 14h00 through to 18h00 during weekdays & 10h00 to 18h00 at weekends