Athina seems determined to draw a line under the painful memories of her childhood. Her decision to sell the Avenue Foch apartment is in keeping with her preference for a quiet life, far away from the bright lights of Paris
Photo: © AFP
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The spectacular penthouse is valued at £10 million. Athina spent much of her childhood in a lavish three-room suite her mother had specially installed
Photo: © Getty Images


20 JULY 2006

Athina Onassis has decided to sell the Paris home where she spent much of her childhood. In a move that many hope will draw a line under her family's tragic legacy, the 23-year-old heiress has put her mother's spectacular Avenue Foch penthouse on the market.

The £10-million apartment, where her mum Christina lived as a newlywed, is an integral part of the Onassis' family's history. Athina's legendary grandfather Aristotle, the man who built the dynasty's vast fortune, bought the 15-room residence in the Sixties when he was at the height of his financial power. With its breathtaking views of the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, it provided the romantic setting for his meetings with opera star Maria Callas and John F Kennedy's widow Jackie.

It was also there that the shipping magnate spent his final days before being taken to the American Hospital in nearby Neuilly-sur-Seine, where he died on March 15, 1975. When Athina was born ten years later her mother, by then owner of the property, began lavishing every luxury on her little girl. A three-room suite decorated with £500,000 of gold leaf was specially installed, complete with toys including a diamond-studded rocking horse and mini Rolls Royce.

Number 88 Avenue Foch is also steeped in painful memories, however. The young Athina was lying in her bed when she heard her mother's voice for the last time. Christina called to say goodnight from a hotel room in Buenos Aires just hours before succumbing to an overdose.

Ever since she turned 18 three years ago Athina has been working hard to put her family's sad legacy behind her. Her mother's villa in St Moritz has already been sold, along with the £5-million Monet masterpiece that once hung in Avenue Foch. Now happily married to Brazilian showjumper Alvaro Alfonso de Mirando Neto, the much talked-about heiress seems determined to step back from the jetset lifestyle previous generations of the dynasty were known for.

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