Paris apartment

True story behind the Parisian apartment of Anastasia La Charnay

In “The Violet Hour”, the first episode of Matthew Weiner’s anthology series The Romanoffs, one character really steals the show: Anastasia La Charnay’s (Marthe Keller) apartment. According to Anastasia, an extremely elegant and cantankerous French aristocrat, the Parisian apartment was once the place where Grand Duke Alexei (her alleged great-great-grandfather) kept his mistresses – still actresses, all 20 years old, jokes Anastasia.

Understandably, the royal crash pad is beyond glamorous by today’s standards, with seemingly endless pieces adorned with antiques, royal portraits, and family treasures, including an original Faberge egg ( we will talk about this later). It’s such a great object of desire for Anastasia’s nephew and heir, Greg (Aaron Eckhart) and his girlfriend Sophie (Louise Bourgoin) that she conjures him up mid-coitus in bed.

“We auditioned a ton of flats for the role,” said production designer Henry Dunn. “But we kept coming back to this one. There was an undeniable atmosphere and we just adopted it – water stain on the wall, peeling paint, we didn’t fix anything. The only hitch? It was slightly too small to accommodate Weiner’s sprawling vision, so Dunn ended up borrowing five rooms from the downstairs apartment, which shared an identical layout, to make up the set.

Marthe Keller, Inès Melab and Aaron Eckhart in the dining room of the fabulous apartment.

Christophe Raphael

To end the scene, Dunn immersed himself in what he jokingly calls “method design,” using the script to really dive into Anastasia and her story. Then he imagined what two hundred years of coming and going of the Romanoffs would look like. “There would be someone living there in the 1800s and they would have it decorated in a certain way, then someone would come in 1840 and throw that in and do it again, and so on until about the 1970s.”

look here How to watch The Romanoffs

And of course the family was not only from Russia, it was also from France and Prussia, so it could all be mixed there as well. It serves as a fitting metaphor for all of Anastasia’s values ​​- family, Frenchness, wealth, bloodlines – and the characters revolve around the apartment throughout the episode.

One hero accessory in particular, the Fabergé egg, crystallizes Anastasia’s cold and aristocratic values. “Do you like it? »She asks her caregiver Hajar (Inès Melab) who admires her while she dusted herself off. “You’ll never, ever get this,” she growls as she embarks on a racist tirade against Islamic countries.

Even eggs worth three or four thousand dollars looked crude and cheap.

She tells how it was passed down from generation to generation, one of 50 made by Peter Carl Fabergé himself for the Russian Czars. Then, moments later, Anastasia reveals that the egg is a fake, the genuine one stolen by the Nazis during the occupation of France. “The egg was a whole other hearing,” Dunn laughs. “Even eggs worth three or four thousand dollars looked gross and cheap. At the last moment we had to order one and we were running out of time, so we had to break the cardinal rule of accessory making, which is always to have two. We therefore treated it with as much care as if it were a real Fabergé.

Although unfortunately the episodic style of The Romanoffs means we won’t be able to see this particular house again, future locations in Hong Kong and the Czech Republic promise more aristocratic mansions to come.

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