London, Mar 29 (ANI): The 'love palace' that had been built by one of the most successful prostitutes in history has been restored to its former glory in central Paris.
The multi-million pound building, built by La Paiva, is still known by that name, and also has a restaurant with the same moniker.
The property, "number 25 of the world famous Avenue Champs Elysee" is where the self-styled Marquise de la Paiva, or 'La Paiva', seduced rich and famous men including English lords, while claiming to be a beautiful aristocrat.
In fact Esther Lachmann was from Polish peasant stock and made up her background while breaking into London and Paris society at the height of the Victorian era.
She married the wealthy Portuguese Marquis de la Paiva, who helped her build the Paiva mansion in 1865.
It became the scene of some of the most decadent parties in the history of Europe, complete with courtesans from all over France offering their erotic charms to royalty, statesmen and other leading figures of the day.
The diamond loving La Paiva kept a close eye on all those who entered her love palace, sometimes banning other women so she could have all the male party guests to herself.
She soon grew bored of her Marquis, divorcing him so as to marry the equally rich Prussian count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, who was 12 years her junior.
This enabled her to add features to the mansion, including a hand-carved staircase made of gold, marble and onyx imported from Algeria, and erotic bathrooms.
The marble bathtubs were regularly filled with milk or even champagne.
La Paiva, also known as 'La Grande Horizontale' - came to personify one of the most decadent periods in French history, when Paris became a centre of high-class sex and luxury living.
Her home is now set back on the increasingly commercialised Champs Elysee, next door to a Gaumont cinema and the official souvenir shop of Paris St Germain Football Club.
Since 1904 it has been the home of the Travellers Club, an elite private member's club which only opened its doors to women during the past decade.
"Everything has been completely restored. Work has been non-stop, but the whole place has its spark back," the Telegraph quoted Olivier du Plessis, club secretary, as saying.
"The restoration was carried out by Etienne Poncelet, chief architect of Paris's historical monuments, using government grants. It is still know as La Paiva mansion, and has a restaurant with the same name," du Plessis added.
When La Paiva died in 1884, her German husband kept her exquisite body intact in embalming fluid and used to cry over it every night. (ANI)