Friday’s Tall Tales #17

Whenever I photograph a door or gate I wonder about its provenance, who and what has happened across said door or gate. I thought I might pick one from #Thursdaydoors and tell you a bit more about it or……maybe even weave a story about it.

The Hongran Palace of Fiano is an imposing apartment building in Nice dating from 18th century, located at 2 rue Saint-François-de-Paule, in the Old Town. Joseph Antoine Hongran, notary and merchant from Saint-Sauveur-sur-Tinée, settled in Nice in the 1740s, bought the land in 1760, but construction by Jean-François Michaud did not begin immediately because of a problem of alignment with the Terraces and the Héraud palace fronting the beach to the west of Castle Hill.

Hongran died in 1765 leaving his fortune to his youngest son, Joseph-François Hongran. The latter had the palace built, which was completed in 1772. Joseph-François Hongran bought the title of Count of Fiano in 1772. But he was bankrupted by a bad business deal and his palace was bought by one of his former associates, the merchant Chabaud. J-F Hongran was subsequently interned in the castle of Villefranche in 1782 and he died without descendants.

The Palace, like many, was confiscated during the Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte, appointed to command the Army of Italy, stayed on the top floor of the building from 26 March to 2 April, in 1796.

From 1838 it housed a small library and a municipal museum which the poet Guillaume Apollinaire frequented in 1897 to prepare for his baccalaureate exam at the lycée in Nice: He wrote to his fiancée, Madeleine:

At the little library in Nice, I read with pleasure the History of Provence by Nostradamus and worried about the Saracen Fraxinet, far from the music, the plaster confetti and the carnival floats.

Apollinaire’s family left Nice in 1899.

The building was listed as a historical monument in December 2010 and is now apartments.

17 Comments on “Friday’s Tall Tales #17

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