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Georges 1er de Grèce Showcase

This showcase is an illustration, through a few important and precious items, of the history of the ties between Aix-les-Bains and King George I of Greece, a sovereign loyal to the spa town as well as to his friendship with the Brachet couple.

In this display, you will discover a signed portrait photograph of King George I of Greece, dated from Aix-les-Bains in 1892.

Georges 1er de Grèce Ascending to the governance of the Hellenic peninsula at only seventeen, he leads a politically unstable kingdom, a territory seeking European recognition, and constantly coveted by its Turkish neighbor.
He travels across Europe as an ambassador to solidify Greece’s legitimacy among the great powers.
Thus, in July 1889, he makes his first visit to Aix-les-Bains, the must-visit destination for crowned heads since Queen Victoria’s visits in 1885 and 1887.
Upon arrival, the weather is gloomy, and he knows no one… he almost leaves! But thanks to the care of Dr. Léon Brachet – who not only administers treatments but also enhances the leisure of his patients – he gradually integrates into the entertainments and prominent personalities of the Savoyard city.
He forms a sincere and respectful friendship with the Brachet couple, especially with Nelly, with whom he maintains a rich and intimate correspondence. We present an example here: a letter from the king’s hand, dated 1893 and sent from Athens to “dear Madame” [Nelly].

Dr. Léon Brachet falls ill and passes away in 1898. However, for several years, he had already “passed the baton” to his colleague Dr. Jean Guilland regarding the care of his majesty.
The latter left a booklet “S. M. George I, King of the Hellenes, Citizen of Aix-les-Bains – Memories of Dr. Jean Guilland,” a collection of anecdotes related to the stays of his illustrious patient – an original copy is on display here.

Indeed, Aix-les-Bains won the heart of the King of Greece: he faithfully returns almost every year for 24 years, despite the shift of social fervor to the Côte d’Azur at the beginning of the 20th century.
He is also granted honorary citizenship of the city on August 20, 1894, a distinction he takes very seriously, even considering spending his retirement there happily… but fate unfortunately decides otherwise: on March 18, 1913, he is assassinated in the street in Thessaloniki by an anarchist named Alexandros Schinas.
Shock and mourning grip the spa town: Aix-les-Bains mourns “his” king.

Additionally, you will find in this showcase some Greek coins from the late 19th century, as well as a Russian-origin pocket watch for women, featuring Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna, granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I, and wife of King George I of Greece.

* This theme is further explored in other showcases of the Château and/or in historical booklets available for consultation at the Honesty Bar.