Updated: Jun 13, 2021
The Rue Bonaparte starts at the river and runs all the way to the Luxembourg Gardens. Filled with a mini-village of art galleries it is no wonder that Eileen Gray made her home and lived here for over 40 years at #21. Gray holds the record as the creator of the most expensive piece of furniture ever sold at auction when Yves Saint Laurent’s estate fetched €50 million for the exquisite lacquered armchair she created in 1932. Born in County Wexford, Ireland, in 1878, Gray spent time at the Slade School in London and first moved to Paris at the age of 24. She learned the art of lacquer from the Japanese master Seizo Sugawara. She opened her own shop called Jean Desert in 1922 and slowly became known wider afield for her architectural designs and through her exchanges with Le Corbusier (he was believed to have “borrowed” one or two ides from her), and in particular for the recently restored ground-breaking E-1027 cuboid house on the rocky cliff-edge of the Côte d’Azur. Gray’s signature E-1027 glass side-table and her Bibendum armchair have also earned their place in 20th century design history and now adorn the waiting rooms of private banks and high-end cosmetic surgery clinics the world over. Only very recently a plaque was erected to commemorate this pioneering and yet ultra-discreet giant of design where she lived at her pictueresque home on the Rue Bonaparte. 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006.