With Madonna’s film about Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor now on general release, interest into the royal couples lives has never been greater. From memorabilia, books and pictures, literally anything linked to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is highly sought after. But if you are truly an aficionado of all things W.E, how about a stay in the only house the pair ever bought together? The Landmark Trust has acquired the house, called the Le Moulin de la Tuilerie which is situated only about half an hours drive from the centre of Paris. The house sits prettily in a dip near the village of Gif-sur-Yvette, it can house eleven people easily and you can rent it for a just the weekend or a full week.
The house itself it steeped in much personal royal history and if you do a little homework before you go, you will get an abundance of pleasure out of exploring it and the surroundings. The main house is huge and as such, has wonderful views all over the grounds, which include a beautiful stream that once would have worked the mill. There are steps that lead up to a crest of a hill to which the Duke gave the moniker ‘Cardiac Hill’, because of the effort it took him to walk up it due to his serious smoking habit. There are still many personal photographs that litter the house, mostly displayed on walls throughout that show off the high flying couples in a more relaxed setting.
All the original features of the house have been tastefully and sympathetically restored by the Landmark Trust after they acquired the property, sitting well with the modern décor that was later added. There are two guest cottages that you can rent separately or together with the house and apparently, photographer Cecil Beaton was a frequently invited guest of the Windsors at La Celibataire, a bachelor pad which sleeps two. Many famous names are associated with or around the house; Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton used to stay at La Maison Des Amis, the house next door, as were Marlene Dietrich and Maria Callas.
This house actually looks over the Windsor’s main house’s grounds where the Duke would potter around in the garden, trying to recreate a typical English cottage garden by growing delphiniums and such like. There are areas of the house that have recently been redecorated, for instance the Duke’s bedroom has had a new lick of paint and the quarters that Wallis used to spend most of her time in have been redone as well. There is no mistaking the atmosphere and sense of time standing still here however, as you walk through the door back through history and step into the British Royal Family’s most sensational but true love story. Prices for the three houses can vary greatly due to the season, here are some examples:
Le Moulin (sleeps 11):
(£990 for a week in January; £3,550 for a week in August)
Le Célibataire (sleeps 2):
(£784 for a week in October; £539 for a week in March)
La Maison Des Amis (sleeps 4):
(£1,523 for a week in September; £1,069 for a week in December; £1,904 for a week in July)
To book a stay at Le Moulin de la Tuilerie or any one of these properties visit landmarktrust.org.uk.