This house is ... gargantuan! No less than 70 rooms, including a ballroom, a music room, a library, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms ...! And throughout, it's laden with marble and gilt. This was one of the mansions owned by the Vanderbilt family, one of THE most powerful families in their day, who became rich thanks to the railroads. This is where the glitterati came for parties; even JFK stayed here.
I noticed 2-3 small details that amused and surprised me, with the help of the audio guide:
- A bathtub carved from a single block of marble, designed to resemble a Roman coffin. It was so thick that it had to be emptied and refilled several times to keep the water hot. There were four taps, two freshwater and two saltwater, as the latter was considered healthy at the time!
- The staircase of the house was built to look like the Opera Garnier in Paris! Moreover, even the guests enjoyed sliding down the banisters here!
- From the testimonies of former servants, we learned that people changed their clothes 6-7 times a day, sometimes taking two baths a day. Their sheets were changed twice a day, and towels were changed after each use.