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Her Highness La Bégum Aga Khan III (1906 - 2000)

On the 1st of July 2000, the town of Le Cannet is in mourning. Her Highness La Bégum Aga Khan III has passed away at the age of 94 in her Villa Yakimour of avenue Victoria. She was born Yvette Blanche Labrousse in 1906, of a father who was a tramway driver and a town councillor for Le Cannet and a mother who was a seamstress. Nothing in her modest upbringing told anything of the glorious destiny that was to be hers. In 1930, she was elected Miss France. Eight years later, she met Sultan Mohammed Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, who was 29 years older than herself. She thus married, in 1944, the richest man in the world, converted to Islam and became Her Highness La Bégum, the Prince's fourth wife.

They settled in the avenue Victoria villa, for which planning permission applications had been submitted in 1937, and named it Yakimour: Y for Yvette, ak for Aga Khan, i for iman, mour for amour. Within this property surrounded by parkland, Her Higness La Bégum used to assemble the members of the Cannes film festival jury.

Highly popular, Her Highness La Bégum showed great generosity throughout her life. For over forty years, banquets were offered to the town's elderly inhabitants. In the last years of her life, she made an outstanding donation to the town, enabling it to renew its school property. She also contributed to the creation of the jardin des Oliviers, for which the town showed its gratitude by erecting a bronze statue in her image. She last appeared in public for the inauguration of this garden.

She has now been reunited with her husband, who has been resting, since 1957, in a mausoleum built on their Nour-es-salam property, near the River Nile.

 

Albert Poulain (1851-1937)

Albert Poulain was the son of Victor-Auguste who, in 1847, opened a chocolate factory in Blois and launched his own chocolate brand. With his innovative advertising strategy, Victor-Auguste met with success thanks to his policy of offering high-quality products at low prices. In 1878, the Poulain factories were producing close to 5 tons of chocolate per day.

Albert, working as his father's associate, invented in 1884 "a product that [would] revolutionize the morning habits of millions of children: breakfast vanilla-flavoured cream". It was an immediate success and dozens of other manufacturers set about copying it.

Founding President of the Blois Chamber of Commerce, Albert married in 1911, and shortly after moved to Le Cannet, while Henri Meunier, other eminent chocolatier, was settled in Cannes.

In 1915, he bought four plots from the Viager Foncier du Littoral that had just completed a vast housing project carried out over several districts of Cannes and Le Cannet. On these parcels of land off rue de Madrid, covering 5,139 m2, he commissioned the construction of a large bourgeois house, Les Grands Pins. Four years later, he bought another patch of land of close to 6,125 m2. Following the death of Ms Poulain in 1926, this vast estate of 12,000 m2 was shared amongst his children, Albert Poulain keeping possession of Les Grands Pins. This one-storey stone-built house "had a lovely view of the town, the sea and the mountains". It was very spacious, containing around 20 rooms. Albert Poulain died in Le Cannet in 1937.

 

The marquise of Milford-Haven (1896-1963)

Grand-daughter of Pushkin, daughter of the Grand Duke of Russia – Michael Mikhailovich – and of the Countess of Torby – Nadejda Milord-Haven –, she was baptised in Cannes. Her god-father was the Prince of Wales - future King Edward VII of England, the son of Queen Victoria. She spent her youth in the Villa Kasbeck where her parents came to stay in the wintertime – the family lived in England during the rest of the year –, taking an active part in the fashionable and sporting events of Cannes. In 1916 she married Lord George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquis of Milford-Haven. In her villa La Coustalado, a superb property of over 3,200 m2 with a magnificent sea view, she received many aristocrats including, before his marriage to the Queen of England, her nephew Philip of Edinburgh.

 

Jacques Fath (1912-1954)

Jacques Fath was one the great post-war couturiers. In 1937, aged 25, he opened a small fashion house. In 1952, he bought a property in the Notre-Dame des Anges neighbourhood, and applied for a building permit for the Moulin de Joko. He carried out modifications both inside and outside the house. Designed to receive a great many people, it was laid out with every luxury. A swimming-pool was built to replace the old pond.

His neighbour in Le Cannet was Alice Chavane de Dalmassy, who also belonged to the professional world of fashion. Editor-in-Chief of Elle magazine when it was first created by Hélène Lazareff, she invited her friends Dior and Givenchy to her house in Le Cannet. Daily newspaper Nice-Matin stated: "Ms Chavane de Dalmassy, (...) her friend James Ciqyet and the Faths have generated a parade of celebrities coming to enjoy their numerous receptions and parties".
Jacques Fath's wife, Geneviève, acted for her husband both as a model and a muse. In 1949, he created the wedding dress and the trousseau of Rita Hayworth for her marriage to Ali Khan. He was by then considered one of the masters of French haute couture. Jacques Fath died very young, only 2 years after having bought the Moulin. His wife kept the estate until 1966.