main menu - summary - content - site map - politique d'accessibilité

Places


Villa Montfleury in Cannes

Villa Montfleury in Cannes

Villa Montfleury
© Archives municipales de Cannes

At the time of his death, on April 16, 1859, Alexis de Tocqueville was very far from the chateau de Tocqueville and the region of Cotentin to which he was so deeply attached. He died in Cannes, in a villa called Montfleury, after his doctors had urged him to spend the winter in sunnier climes than those of Normandy, in order to treat the new bout of tuberculosis that had so severly affected him since early 1858.
On October 28, 1858, he set off for Cannes with his wife, arriving there on November 4th in a state of exhaustion, after a trip that the weather had made extremely trying. They immediately moved into the magnificent Villa Montfleury, which must have made their stay very agreeable. This large bourgeois dwelling, located on the sides of a hill to the east of Cannes, had no less than twenty main rooms and nearly four hectares of sumptuous, terraced gardens, in which palm and mandarine trees alternated with small ponds. Nevertheless, at the beginning of their stay, since both Tocqueville and his wife were forced to be silent due to illness, their charm of their surroundings appeared to have been lost on them.

« We have rented a very pleasant house here, adjacent to a large forest. We look out over olive trees to the sea beyond. All of this would be quite pleasant to look at if the heart were less heavy. »
(Letter to his nephew Hubert, November 15, 1858)

Tocqueville's letters from the end of 1858 reveal his preoccupations with the delay in receiving their trunks, the lack of books, and questions of deliveries of firewood, which threatened the villa's heating arrangements. These complaints did not quite mask the anxiety of someone facing the advance of his illness and an immense feeling of solitude. To keep these feelings of isolation at bay, his two brothers and his best friends regularly took turns at his bedside, which Marie barely left. First came Hippolyte, who showed himself to be a particularly attentive nurse for nearly three months, and then Édouard, who spent several weeks in Cannes, followed by Beaumont and Louis de Kergorlay who rushed to their best friend's side just before he died on April 16, 1859.
In compliance with his last wishes, his body was transferred to the Tocqueville parish cemetery, where Marie joined him in 1864. Despite all of the precautions taken by her husband, particularly in his will, Marie was largely pushed aside by her in-laws, as can be seen in the Alexis de Tocqueville's death announcement, in which she is not even mentioned.

See the map

Lock of hair from Alexis de Tocqueville, taken on the day of his death

Lock of hair from Alexis de Tocqueville, private collection
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

Slide show: villa Montfleury, 1860-1880

Slide show: villa Montfleury, 1860-1880

Archives

Series of eight letters written by Alexis de Tocqueville, dated 1858

Series of eight letters written by Alexis de Tocqueville
© Archives municipales de Cannes

Death certificate from Alexis de Tocqueville

Death certificate from Alexis de Tocqueville
© Archives municipales de Cannes

Alexis de Tocqueville's death announcement

Alexis de Tocqueville's death announcement
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

Top of page