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Archive for July, 2012


Written on my iPhone. Please forgive any errors.

We arrived in Paris from Nice, France after a 10-Hour drive to spend Thursday night with Valpinçon descendants. Departing Friday morning at 10am we stopped by Notre Dame to pick up copies of Valpinçon and Caillebotte family records which I had arranged to have ready and waiting for us.

Afterwards, we stopped by another church in the 1st Arrondissement where I had previously discovered Caillebotte and Féron baptism records. It was nearly noon on the day before Bastille Day, and the church was about to close, but I was able to find a very busy Veronique, the church secretary who had helped me before, who remembered me from my visit this past May, and was quite happy to help me again.

With Baptism dates in hand, we found finally found evidence of Veronique PINSON de VALPINÇON, the sister of Gabriel, Jacques, Anne (grandmother of Alfred Caillebotte), Victor, Augustin René (grandfather of Paul de Valpinçon who was the friend of Degas), Marie (my 2nd great-grandmother), Adelaide, and Jean Baptiste.

In a few hours the current owners of the Chateau Menil-Hubert will give us a private tour of the family chateau where Edgar Degas kept a studio. This chateau first purchased by Augustin Renè PINSON DE VALPINÇON on 31 Dec 1822 from Dame Marguerite Charlotte Fanny de LA PALLU for 315,560 francs. The current value is estimated around €10 million.

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It’s funny what you come across, when you aren’t even looking.  Yesterday, while visiting the Throne Room in the Palace of Prince Albert II, the reigning Sovereign Prince of Monaco (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi), I happened to notice a painting of of his great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, hanging to the left of the throne.

1894 painting of Prince Albert I, by Léon Bonnat, shown to the left of the Palace throne.

The 1894 painting of Prince Albert I is by Léon Bonnat.  Bonnat was not only a teacher of my grandfather, Paul de Launay (a Valpinçon descendant through his paternal grandmother, Marie de Valpinçon)  while he was at the Luxembourg, but was a teacher of his cousin Gustave Caillebotte as well.  Paul de Valpinçon was a cousin of both Caillebotte and de Launay.  Paul de Valpinçon’s lifelong friend, Edgar Degas, was also a student of Bonnat.  Paul de Valpinçon and Gustave Caillebotte died in 1894, the same year as this painting.

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