Friday, June 30, 2017
Today is Dany’s funeral.
News of Dany’s passing was made very public.
I’m sorry that I’ve been dismissive in writing, but it’s been a bit weird the past few days. Vacations are to be enjoyed to the fullest and funerals usually are not in the plan.
So then, how do I begin?
A bit of a backstory. Dany’s sons, Francois and Martin are from his second marriage. They have been a more visible part of Dany’s life simply because Bonaparte was raised by his stepfather and in his twenties, moved to the States.
Dany’s third wife was a force to be reckoned with. I’ll be as kind as I can by saying that this woman basically cut Dany off from Bonaparte and Dany’s other sons.
It wasn’t until about four years ago that I had had enough. Dany’s third wife had passed and I felt that Bonaparte and Dany needed, as father and son, to make peace. I knew Bonaparte wanted to but he was too stubborn.
I took my chances. Perhaps my pilgrimages to St. Rita had paid off. But on one of our visits to St. Tropez, I sauntered into Dany’s Musée. I had a hunch he would be there. Call it women’s intuition. I explained, in my broken French, to the woman at the front desk who I was. I also explained that Bonaparte was outside at the end of the passage and was too stubborn to enter.
She knew Bonaparte and the family and Dany was upstairs in his studio. She took it upon her to go outside with me and wave Bonaparte in.
The rest is a very wonderful father/son reunion. This reunion took place when Danièle was still alive; and when we returned to Paris to explain what happened, she cried. She cried because she was thrilled that it happened.
And in the past four years, Dany and Bonaparte continued their relationship as though nothing ever happened. They spoke regularly. We visited him every year and enjoyed our time with him.
This photo was taken when father and son reunited. It was also before the remodeling of the museum. Cool wooden boats were suspended from the ceiling–this is Dany’s studio at the Musee.
If they hadn’t made peace, Bonaparte would have regretted it for his lifetime.
And so, we move forward…
We drove to St. Tropez early in the morning. Our plan was to meet Bonaparte’s family and head to the funeral. The funeral service wasn’t to be held until later in the afternoon and I certainly was not prepared for the type of funeral that was to come.
Traffic was on our side and so was parking—we were to park the car at Dany’s residence. But—since we arrived early, Bonaparte wanted to take the time to hang at the port and take a few photos.
Arriving early, we were able to take a few “vacation” photos.
Look what I spotted in the parking lot. A poster of museums in St. Tropez and Dany’s Musee is one of them. If you are ever in St.Tropez…..
On to the port. It’s too bad that the large boats now hide the view of the other side of the port.
it is still an iconic sight..
Bonaparte explained that as much as Dany loved St. Tropez, he wasn’t fond of the fact that huge, magnificent yachts and charter vessels had taken over the port that was once home to small fishing boats and pirogues. And intimate little bistros and cafés were replaced with fancy and expensive establishments. In fact, during high season, Dany, in his younger older days, would often retreat to the back country and mountains when St. Trop became too full of the “beautiful people”.
This boat made me think of how St. Tropez used to be. Bonaparte said that it was so different when he was young. St. Tropez hadn’t yet been “discovered”
The good thing is that this boat is being restored to it’s original beauty. I hope we get to see it as it was when we return next summer.
It may be large but this was a beautiful old-school yacht.
This view never gets boring..
An interesting sculputre..
I dig these. A lot!
He never cared for Paris and St. Tropez was his escape. His safe place and the place he loved. He eschewed the privileged life he was born into and was, a bohemian at heart.
We met up with Bonaparte’s family at the hotel where they were all staying. Bonaparte’s brother Martin’s first wife was there. Yolanda. We hit it off immediately and had an enjoyable conversation. Her English was remarkable and I later learned she worked as a flight attendant back in her younger days.
We arrived en masse at Dany’s residence and could say our goodbyes. He was suited in traditional St. Tropez clothing. A black suit, red scarf, white shirt and his hat lay on top of him.
We made our way outside and the simple casket was placed into a simple white van. Here’s where things got interesting.
Bonaparte told me that we would be parading around the city of St. Tropez to the Hotel de Ville—the town hall where the Mayor of St. Tropez would give a speech. From there we would walk over to the church for the service and from there walk up to the cemetery.
My eyes grew wide with surprise—and then I started to laugh. I laughed because the memory of last year’s infamous parade through the streets of St. Tropez with me leading Dany in a chair wheeled by Bonaparte was brought back to the theater of my mind! (If you are not familiar with that post—here it is: Hey. Don’t Rain on My St. Tro-Parade). Remarkably, that parade took place almost exactly to the day of this parade.
The van pulled out and the family and a few friends followed at a snail’s pace. All I could think of was the funeral in The Godfather. As we entered the village, shopkeepers who knew Dany joined in the parade. Restaurant owners also joined in. More friends entered the parade and before you knew it, there was a parade of people that I’m sure made Dany’s spirit smile.
Family and friends followed the van throughout St. Tropez. BTW, look at Mona’s shoes. They are fabulous!!
More and more people joined the procession.
Men we passed by respectfully took their hats off and placed them across their chests while bowing their heads. I forgot to mention. The procession was led by the police.
The policeman making sure the path is cleared. We had to wait a few moments for a wedding to end at the Hotel de Ville before making our way up.
OK. Am I THAT bad for wanting to enter into this shop to look at the dresses? I wanted to so badly but knew it would be inappropriate.
But then again, I could have confessed to this very, very handsome priest–which I should have done. Oh this priest could have been a hipster girl’s dream man…
And he wore Tropezienne sandals!!!! And his manfeet were beautiful!
I must say, Father Tropezienne was Catholic Eye Candy!
We arrived at the Hotel de Ville and the Mayor gave a very beautiful tribute. I was able to understand much of what he was saying and it was touching.
People gathering at the Hotel de Ville
Bonaparte was touched by the number of people who showed up to pay their respects
Dany was brought out to attend his tribute!
And the mayor gave a beautiful speech (I didn’t take this photo–someone from the St. Tropez paper took it)
He ended with a moment of silence
Next stop was the church. Father Tropezienne led a beautiful ceremony and my favorite part was when the Frankincense was spread throughout the altar and the rest of the church. I love that scent. It reminds me of old-school Catholic services from when I was younger.
The Church of Our Lady of The Assumption in St. Tropez was where the service was held
Family and friends gathered then entered…
The service was a beautiful send-off and I was honored to receive Communion here
With the service ending, we exited the church and the procession made its way to the cemetery. Dany was buried with his mother, Muse. Father Tropezienne said a few more prayers and Dany was laid to eternal rest.
This is so awful but I couldn’t help but feel bad for the Altar Boy–he really looked like he wanted to be somewhere else. He was such a trooper!
This is NOT a bad place to…
…rest in peace now–is it?
Francois handed Dany’s hat to Bonaparte-it was a very moving and emotional moment for him. For many reasons. And that was it…
Francois’ wife came up to me and told me that I could say I attended my first Tropezienne funeral. You know, Bonaparte is lucky because his family is a group of very kind, generous and gifted people. They are also incredibly welcoming to me. As the lone American, I feel honored to be welcomed and accepted by them.
We were to meet at Café des Arts, one of Dany’s hangouts, for drinks and then onto La Ramade for dinner.
Bonaparte and I took a quiet walk and by the time we arrived at the café, I was both thirsty and hungry—not to mention hungover from last night’s dinner.
OK. So, it’s a bit small, but the fact that Bonaparte has his dad’s hat is very special…
Friends and family enjoyed themselves with lots of wine..
Martin and Father Tropezienne
Bonaparte. The Hat. And one of Dany’s Artist friends.
At LaRamade, I didn’t even have to order Rognons because the owner brought them right to me—I felt like such a local. I also drank way too much rose!
Gone–but not forgotten!
The wood-burning hearth at LaRamade. The sight of many of Dany’s meals…
Martin and Bonaparte. You can tell from the focus of this pic that I was basically two sheets to the wind at this point!
This was unlike any funeral I had ever been to because it truly was a celebration. There was nothing sad. Nobody wore black except the priest. Everyone was in great spirits.
It was a total celebration of a life and a man who loved every day of his almost 97 years.
Here’s to you Dany, I know you are with Evie now…
…and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life!
Saint Tropez is watching over us as you are…
Dany requested that Mozart’s “Requiem” be played at his funeral—so I give this to you.