Churchill’s Beloved Mediterranean Retreat Goes on the Market
Roquebrune-cap-Martin, France: The house of Churchill’s overseas literary representative, Emery Reves, has been put up for sale with an asking price of 40 million Euros or about $52 million. Originally built in the 1920s for Coco Chanel by Churchill’s friend “Bendor”, the second Duke of Westminster, La Pausa was purchased by Reves and his future wife Wendy in the early 1950s. Not long after retiring as prime minister, Churchill first stayed at the French Riviera villa in 1956 and made a total of ten extended visits over the following three years. He enjoyed the weather, the “paintacious” scenery and the fine company of his hosts, dubbing the home “Pausaland”. After Reves died in 1981, Wendy, an honorary member of The Churchill Centre, stayed on until her death in 2007. At that point the house and its belongings were sealed up until the clearing of legal matters allowed the six-acre property to go on the market in early May.
Churchill intended to use his first stay at La Pausa, the place where one “pauses”, to search for a house of his own in the south of France. Such a purchase never came to pass. Instead Churchill contented himself with accepting the hospitality of his friends, the Reveses. These stays were of such length that they produced an extensive correspondence between Churchill and Clementine, who generally preferred to seek her rest elsewhere. Those letters and the memoirs of Churchill’s private secretary Anthony Montague Browne show that Churchill was not always “pausing” at La Pausa.
While enjoying the balmy climate, Churchill went over the final drafts of his History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He was still a member of Parliament and did not neglect his duties, writing to the Chief Whip, Edward Heath, to express his displeasure with the government’s policy in Cyprus. From London Prime Minister Eden wrote his predecessor about the developing crisis at Suez. From La Pausa Churchill also agreed to become a subscriber to an ornamental candelabrum to be set up outside the Israeli parliament building in Jerusalem as a gift from Britain. Considering the history of the house, Hugues Moret, the French Ambassador to Monaco, stated: “This is part of France’s heritage. We have to find a way to keep it in the family.”