Grand Hotels of the
Aimee de

one of the most glamorous Woman of the 20th century ...

Aimee de Heeren (1903 - 2006)
Rio de Janeiro
Paris - Biarritz - New York - Palm Beach

Over a century ago was born in Brazil an exotic beauty,
Aimee de Sa Sotto-Maior, later Aimee de Heeren.

Aimee de Sa Sotto-Maior

As a child she lived in Castro in the province of parana, Brazil.
She did not grew up in a wealthy environment,
but her parents were very cultivated and tried
to give their two girls Vera and Aimée
a good education.

As a teenager Aimée and her sister Vera (Pretyman)
moved to Rio de Janeiro,
at the time the capital of Brazil.

early 1930s
President Getulio VargasPalacio de CatetePresident Getulio Vargasflag of Brazil
Aimee and her sister were so beautiful that they caused
growing fascination around them ...
Rio de Janeiro was watching them ...
up to the Palacio do Catete, at the time the Presidential Palace,
home to President Getulio Vargas.

After a while Aimée moved
to the presidential palace where she lived for a few years.
Aimee de Sa Sotto-Maior and President Getulio Vargas

President Vargas and President Roosevelt
When living at the Palacio de Catete,
Aimee met many important people of that time,
like the US President Franklin D Roosevelt
and many other international political or business leaders.

Unlike President Vargas who was receiving his state guests
in order to set up business deals of political decisions
Aimée had "nothing to sell"
to whoever was coming ...

Normally inaccessible people coming to Brazil for a state visit
were just fascinated
by her personality and beauty
... and they left Brazil with the secret desire to be able to know her.

This opened Aimées adressbook to many
World Leaders of the 1930s.

late 1930s

In 1938 Aimée and her sister Vera,
decided to move to New York.
They immediately caused a stir due to their charm and originality.

According to her later friend Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz
they landed in New York like "Bombshells"
in the rather prutian and stiff high society of the late 1930´s New York.

Soon the US press noticed the beauty and elegance of the new arrival to the US:
In 1941 "Time" elected Aimée
to be part of the "Ten best dressed Woman in the World"

Wallis Simpson, later the Duchess of WindsorBabe Mortimer, later Babe PaleyAimee de Heeren
Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor was N°1
Mrs Stanley Mortimer Jr (Barbara Cushing later Babe Paley) N°2
Aimee (just arrived from Brazil & Paris) N° 3

Mona Harrison, later Countess Mona von Bismarck
Mrs Harrison Williams, later Countess Mona von Bismarck N°4

Mrs Byron Foy N° 5
Senora Felipe A Espil N°6
Mrs Robert W Miller N°7
Mrs Robert Emmet Sherwood N°8
Rosalind Russel N°9
Lily Pons N° 10

Elanor Roosevelt, at the time first Lady of the USA
did not have enough votes from the 50 style authorities
to get into the List.

Until the German invasion of France,
Aimée travelled to Paris frequently.

The second Duke of Westminster
There she became friends with the Duke of Westminster,
Elsie de Wolfe,
Coco Chanel and many others.
Chanel on the fame list

Coco Chanel used to giver an unlimited amount of perfume samples
in the hope she would promote the Chanel brand
when travelling to the US.

Aimee de Heeren at the Circus Ball
Aimée patronized many fashion designers,
including the at the time unknown Christian Dior
whose dresses she weared at fancy events like the 1939 Circus Ball in Versailles,
the last grand Paris Party before the War.
Dior on the Fame List

According to the memoires of Bettina Ballard, Paris editor of the American Vogue

I particularly remember the season when Aimee was lionized in Paris.
She was so pretty, so genuinely nice, carried gaiety with her like a fan, and she was almost eaten alive.
Hung with diamonds, she was pushed from fittings to balls,
never allowed a moment for private conquest because
every hostess needed her for her party to prove that she could draw the lioness of the season.
Aimee just wanted to dance and flirt and have fun.
That wasn‘t what Paris expected of her.


Aimee "Kennedy"

La GueridaJoseph Kennedy and young Ted KennedyJoseph Kennedy Jr3 Kennedy Brothers in Palm Beach, Robert, JFK, TedRobert, Ted and John F Kennedy
The American East Coast was watching Aimee ...

At the occasion of the exposition "Les Années Maison Blanche / The years in the White House"
half a century later,
November 18 2002,
in a Paris Musee des Arts Decoratifs Reception,
Senator Edward Kennedy
confessed to his daughter Anne,
his niece Caroline and the editor of this website,
for years and years,
whenever Aimee was in town (Palm Beach),
all the 4 boys in the Kennedy house "were getting completely nuts" ...
his brothers Joseph, JFK , Robert
and of course the young Ted himself.

Seantor Ted Kennedy and Aimee de Heeren in ParisCaroline Kennedy SchlossbergSenator Ted Kennedy, his daughter Anne and Aimme de Heeren (sitting)
Ted Kennedy was so exited to see Aimee that he completely forgot to great
the hostess of the evening,
Liliane Bettencourt that was surprised to see the scene
in the back of the room.

Rose and Joseph Kennedy
Their mother Rose wanted her oldest son Joseph marry Aimee,
as she thought that "Aimee Kennedy"
would be a perfect first Lady
for the White House.
Destiny was different, Aimée´s friend Joseph sadly died in an militrary air crash,
JFK became President
and Jackie Kennedy Bouvier the first Lady.

Aimee de Heeren

Rodman Heeren as a Baby
Aimee married Rodman Heeren,
the great grandson of John Wanamaker
and uncle of John Wanamaker Leas
of the Philadelphia department store dynasty.
The connection to Heeren went back to one of Aimées much older friends,
the inventor Thomas Edison
whom she had met as a young woman and who had left her a beautiful broach.

Rodman Heeren
Aimee often spoke about her husband "Roddy" who must have been a lovely person.
There were many many of photos of him in Aimées houses,
but unfortunately,
as the editor of this website was too young,
he could not take any photos in person,
which explains why, for the moment,
there is only a Baby picture and a difficult to recognize zoomed Photo in a Frame.

1950s - 1960s - 1970s

Aimee de Heeren by Vidal Quadras
Soon Aimee and Rodman Heeren moved to France
living between Biarritz, Paris, Palm Beach
and travelling.


Audrey HepburnGrace of MonacoPrincess SorayaBaron Alexis de Rede
Aimee, who had received only a basic education in Brazil,
but armed with an all-consuming desire to learn,
went about collecting friends among aristocrats, intellectuals, and artists
who offered her their wisdom and experience.

Jimmy Douglas

Prince Johannes von Thurn & TaxisDoris DukeBaron Guy de RothschildPrince Edoaurd de Lobkowicz
Very quickly she learned to speak six languages, not perfectly,
but well enough so as to enable her to moove around society in a spectecular manner.
Above picture show some of her close friends in Europe , pictures from the 1960s

Aimee was invited to many major social events:

1923, August 14 Opening Night of the Copacabana Palace Hotel Rio de Janeiro
1929, October 21 50th anniversary party of the invention of the light bulb given by Henry Ford for Thomas Edison

1938, July first Circus Ball at the Villa Trianon by Elsie de Wolfe / Lady Mandl
1938, December Anniversary party at 85 rue de la Faisanderie for Elsie de Wolf by Paul Louis Weiller
1939 July 1, second Circus Ball by Elsie de Wolfe / Lady Mendl

The Shah Reza and Soraya
1951, February 12 Wedding of the Shah of Iran to Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari

Aimee de Heeren and Alexis de RedeArturo and Patricia Lopez WillshawAimee de Heeren and Orson Welles
1951, September 3 Beistegui Ball in Venice

Queen Elisabeth II at her coronation
1953, June 2 Coronation of Queen Elisabeth II
1953, September 2 Bal Costumé du Marquis de Cuevas, Biarritz

John F Kennedy and Jackeline Bouvier at their wedding
1953, September 12 Wedding of John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier

many Parties in Paris given by Elsie de Wolfe

Prince Rainier of Monaco & Grace Kelly
1956, April 19 Wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco
1957, June 23 Bal des Têtes, Hotel Lambert, by Baron Alexis de Rede
1957, September 50th anniversary of Neiman Markus, award given to Coco Chanel, Dallas, Texas

General de Gaulle and Princess Grace at the Palais ElyseeElysee Palace
various State Reception in the Palais Elysee
by the French Presidents Vincent Auriol, Charles de Gaulle,
Claude Pompidou, Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac

White HousePresident Kennedy and Jacky Kennedy
1961 January 20 - Inauguration Ceremony for President Kennedy
1962, May 19 45th birthday party for President Kennedy, Madison Square Garden, New York

1965 My Fair Lady Ball by Helene Rochas
1966 November 28 - Black & White Ball à l'Hotel Plaza New York
1968 Patinio Ball by Beatriz and Antenor Patino, Portugal
1968 Dolce Vita Ball by Sao and Pierre Schlumberger, Quinta do Vinagre, Portugal

Chateau de Versailles
incountable Galas in Versailles,
the most beautiful ones organised by Edouard de Lobkowicz

Plane de TableHotel LambertHotel Lambert
many Diners and Receptions in Paris in the Hotel Lambert by A de R (Alexis de Rede)

Le Bal Oriental by Alexis de RedeBal Oriental InvitaionAimee de Heerene painted by Serebiakoff
1969 December 5 - Bal Oriental by Baron Alexis de Rede in the Paris Hotel Lambert,
1971 December 11 - Proust Ball by Guy and Marie Helene de Rothschild

1972 December 12 - Ball Surrealiste by Guy et Marie Helene de Rothschild

1981 January 20 - Inauguration ceremonies for President Reagan

1981 July 29 - wedding Lady Diana and Prince Charles

1986 June 3-6 - Thurn und Taxis Don Govanni Ball in Regensburg

1994 January 31 - 70th brithday Party for Alfred Taubmann (Sotheby's) in Palm Beach
1997 October 11 wedding of Pierre d Arenberg and Sylvia de Castellane

2000 July 1 - Coming out party for Lady Gabriella Windsor at Kensington Palace
2000 November birthday of the Duc François de la Rochefoucauld
2003 August 3 - 100th birthday party for Aimee de Heeren in Biarritz (nobody knew she was getting 100)
2004 Mai - wedding of Zelmira Gainza and Patrick Graham in Biarritz
2005 July 15-18 - 60th Birthday Crown Prince Alexander of Serbia at the White Palace in Belgrade

a typical Aimee de Heeren Year

When people asked Aimee
"where do you live ?",
her answer was

"oh my Dear .... but it depends on the season"

This is the calendar of a typical Aimee de Heeren year:

The Concord with Aimee de Heeren flying from Paris CDG to New York JFK in January
A sad time of the year was her departure to the US in January.
A major problem were the uncountable suitcases
which would have cost a fortune ....
but Aimee knew the trick to save any extra charges
arrive soooo late
that there was no more time to weight her suitcases
.... plus her unique charm and charisma.

Entrance of the 17 E 90th New YorkLibrary
New York 17 E 90th Street for a few days,
walking in Central Park, Museums, Meeting Friends,
Shopping on 5th Avenue
Visit 5th

Louwana, Aimee de Heerens house in Palm Beach
Louwana by Addison Mizner, 473 North Country Road, Palm Beach
until end of April,
around the major Palm Beach events ... the house fills up Aimées "House Guests"

New York again in Mai.

The Comcorde with Aimee de Heeren flying back to Paris every June
But the happiest time was her return to Paris.
The Concorde always arrived in Paris CDG 9h30 pm
and with Aimee came about 40 suitcases and some years later
also her Yorky Terrier "Oliver".

Summer season in Paris until just after July 14th.

Hotel Meurice in Paris
The Hotel Meurice was her home in 1986,
in 1987 she moved to 8 Avenue Iena
and again the Hotel Meurice
until she moved to 73 rue de Varenne, the top floor in
the house of Lord Granard (called Barbar) right next to the Rodin Museum.

45 rue de Varenne seen from cite de VarenneAimee de Heeren going out in Paris
1995 back to the Hotel Meurice until in 1999 she found a new place on 45 rue de Varenne

Aimee de Heeren and Baron Alexis de RedeAimee de Heeren, Princess Soraya of IranAimee de Heeren and Arlette Mitterrand
going out in Paris, practically always accompanied by the editor of this website.

Mid July Biarritz, where Aug 3, Aimees birthday was always
the peek of the season.

Hotel Cipriani in VeniceAimee de Heeren in a Boat of Hotel Cipriani in Venice
End August leaving for The Hotel Cipriani in Venice
and mid September back to Paris.

Aimee with Francoise et Edouard de LobkowiczAimee de Heeren and Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz
Early Summer or Fall Week ends here and there ...
Aimee loved to go to the Lobkowicz house in Normandy,
to Kensington Palace in London,
to the Chateau de Marais
or just stay in town walk with the dogs in the jardins de Bagatelle
or the nearby Parcs de St Cloud or Versailles
which would not stop her from occasionally using a simple 2* Hotel as well.

Aimee de Heeren in Regensburg
As long as Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis was alive
she was always invited to come to Regensburg in December
to be the most glamorous guest
of the different hunting week ends.
She usually stayed 3 weeks, accompanied by another T&T houseguest,
the always broken and very funny Princess Honeychile Hohenlohe.

Buzz Aldrin on the MoonBuzz Aldrin and Aimee de HeerenDodie Rosekrans & Lois Aldrin
Receiving friends at home in Paris

Biarritz via Paris
for Christmas and the New Years Eve

Later Years 1986-2006

1983-1985 was a sad time for Aimee ... not only her loved sister Vera Pretyman,
but also her wonderful husband Rodman died.
... after months of sadness
she decided to attend a costume ball in Germany in June 1986,
the 60th anniversary of her old good friend HSH Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis.

At the party she ran into a high school graduate from Paris
... whom she invited to come to Biarritz for the following summer vacations in August 1986.

Entrance of the Villa La RoseraieVictoriaVilla La Roseraie in BiarritzBiarritz, Grande Plage and view on the phare

... and again August 1987,
1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 ....

... Aimee continued her invitations
for the Summer in Biarritz

the year she was elected to the Best Dressed List of the Fashion Hall of Fame,
not just for adhering to fashion but more for reinterpreting it with originality and taste.


1998 the summer of the eclipse was supposed to be her last one
after a major hip operation,
but we decided to resist
no parties, no guests
all alone for weeks
with only one thing in mind .... getting back in shape

2003, the year of a round birthday (which was kept a secret)

Aimee and her son in law John Noble
... Aimee with her "Son in Law" John Noble
John couldn´t stop making "terrible black humor" jokes about the "Mother in Law" ...
... so "terrible" that the "victim" Aimee was not always amused.
Sadly John died in 2005,
but a couple of days before he died
Aimee has had the chance to "forgive" the many jokes
she had to admid were so "terrible"
that .... after some initial furies... even she, the victim .... considered to be rather funny.
"Oh j´avais déja pardonne depuis longtemps, mais il avait quand même de l´esprit"
Victoria Noble Lee, John Noble and Una Mas

Aimee was getting older
and once arrived in Biarritz,
she didn´t want the former high school student to leave any more
... until the end of the summer.

Feeling and living her getting older was sad to see ...
... but one of the summer joys of Biarritz was also
the presence (unfortunately too short)
of her beautiful grand daughter
Victoria Noble Lee,
a saver of uncountable abandonded animals
who has inherited some of Aimee´s fascinating looks.

... and her faithful friends of the very last years
Jimmy Douglas, Fernando Porto, Francoise Cochin
La Duchesse de Mandas, Marie Christine de Kent
as well as
her loved nephiews:
the Brazilian
George Pretyman and his wife Tanya
William Pretyman and his wife Louiza
and the American
John Wanamaker Leas with his wife Susan.

Begonia Angulo
Begonia Angulo was there every year
a superpower of wild imagination
a kind of a Lady in Waiting,
an eternal summer guest,
an annoying nightmare,
100% the center of the cote Basque and Madrid gossip
a very funny,
but last not least
..... wonderful company

Begonia was known all around the European High Society,
from Monaco to Paris, via Gstaad, Marbella and of course Biarritz ...

She knew everything what she was not supposed to know
and immediately spread the information
... full of errors, confusions, massive exageration
... but always with a bit of truth ...

Ever year had a "special" topic:

1997 the relation between Lady Di and Dodi Al Fayed
1998 the young Baron Gonsage de Luz, grandson of her Biarritz friend Larüe de Charlus
1999 John F Kennedy Jr and stories about the arriving Internet
2000 the loneliness of the Prince Rainier de Monaco
2001 local scandals with people only known around the cote Basque
2002 secret rumors about Letizia Ortiz and Felipe of Spain
2003 the preparations of the royal wedding in Spain
2004 a summer of dramas, l´eté des drames,
caused by a joke about an imaginary lunch invitation from a fake, nouveau riche
Baronne from Saint Jean de Luze

2005 the fights between La Princesse Ira de Fürstenberg and the Paris Hotel Royal Monceau
etc etc etc
all the little dramas in the Hotel du Palais,
announcing Divorces in Paris and Reconsiliations in Madrid
and of cours everything what happened in the house of the "Queen of Biarritz"
La Villa La Roseraie.

Hotel du PalaisHotel du PalaisHotel du PalaisHotel du Palais
Begonias Message Activities started every summer morning
at 10h30 around the swimming pool of the Biarritz Hotel du Palais,
where she had her 1h30 walk from one "cabagna" to another ...

Begonia had no money, she was always sick and full of pains
and nevertheless full of life (what impressed Aimee).
She lived between a tiny flat in Madrid
and the magnificient houses of her generous friends,
Aimee´s Villa La Roseraie beeing her favorite one ...

Begonia would truely deserve to be the subject of some Novels ...
who knows maybe they will be written by one of thoses that had known her in person

Aimee de Heeren on the Grand Plage of Biarritzlunch after the Ocean
One thing was common to all these Biarritz years,
Aimee was swimming in the Atlantic almost every summer day,
accompanied by her maids Lydia, Aparicida, her driver Jose
and when in town, the former high school student.

Years had passed,
20 years,
but one thing remained a secret ...
... Aimées age

Even though they were sometimes travelling,
the former high school student
was never allowed to look into her Passport to see her date of birth.
He tried to respect ... but anyways the Passport age was not the real one,
at the Brazilian consulate in Paris someone had done something
only a Legend might be able to obtain
taken a decade off in her papers ...
after a while Aime wanted to repeat the 10years less action
but unfortunately computerisation was too advanced.

2006 Paris was waiting for her to come
.... Biarritz as well
but instead a call,
"can you come to New York ..."

The last common summer vacation
was in Manhattan
around the NYC Lenox Hill Hospital.
During these days was finaly reveiled the long kept secret ...
Aimées real age was not 70,
.... a medical ticket on her arms indicated
and counting
the former high shool student
finaly realized .....

that during all these years .....
Aimee had always been
63 years older ....

It is only now, when setting up this small souvenir website
and when googling "Aimee de Heeren"
that the editor if these pages
starts to realize,
that during all these years,
he has in some way been sourounded by a "Living History Book" without even noticing it ...

A "Living History Book"
that had been a distant friend,
a close friend,
a source of jealousy
of even the fascination of

Heads of States, multiple Kings and Queens,
Industry Tycoons, Inventors, Artists, Fashion Designers,
President Vargas, President Roosevelt,
Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford,
the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor, Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe)
John D Rockefeller, Doris Duke, Barbara Hutton, Jimmy Douglas,
Coco Chanel, Christian Dior,
Prince Rainier of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Princess Caroline,
Johannes von Thurn & Taxis, Princess Elisabeth von Thurn & Taxis
Bendor (2nd Duke of Westminster), Queen Mum, Queen Elisabeth II, Jim Mitchell,
Warren Avis, Albert Einstein,
Rose Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy Sr,
Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr, Ted Kennedy, JFK, Robert Kennedy
and some of their children,
Baron Guy and Baronne Helene de Rothschild, Baron Alexis de Rede,
Baronne Nadine de Rothschild,
the old Begum and the old Aga Khan, Prince Amyn Khan,
Nancy Reagan, Pamela Harriman, Elsa Maxwell
Maxi and Sarita Gainza, Guy d´Arcangue, Tom Carrigan and his sister the artist Debby Carrigan,
Baron Hubert von Pantz and Baronne Terry von Pantz
Aristotle Onassis, Madame Meneghini (Maria Callas) , Stavros Niarchos,
Princesse Ghislaine de Polignac, Andre Dunstetter, Princesse Titi von Fürstenberg (Cecile Blaffer)
La Duchesse de la Rochefoucault, Lord Granard (Barbar)
Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz and Princess Francoise de Bourbon Lobkowicz,
Charles Henri de Lobkowicz, Pierre et Sylvia d´Arenberg,
Gianni Agnelli, Sao Schlumberger, Dodie Rosekrans, Melle Jourdan,
the pennyless and snobish Isabelle Countess of Paris and her much nicer daughter Princesse Chantal d´Orleans
the Shah, Princess Soraya of Iran, Audrey Hepburn
Mariana Indio da Costa, Rixa von Oldenburg, Paul de Schorlemer,
Buzz and Lois Aldrin
and many others ...

one knows from the History Books.

Aimee had 4 handwritten and almost impossible to read Phonebooks,
one for Brazil, one for the US, one for Paris, one for Europe
they kept the most unusual phonenumbers ...

Sometimes when driving with Aimee through a steet in Paris
and mentionning the name of that street
she suddenly knew the person after whom the Avenue was mentioned ...
"Avenue Georges Mandel" ....
"you know I very well remember Georges Mandel,
he was speaking very very slowly and always
made compliments about my dresses"

But Aimee was rarely talking about the past,
more interested in the presence,
and the future ...
listening to stories about the arriving Internet

Some people say that you only die,
when nobody thinks about you any more,
but thanks to Aimées
legendary personality and beauty,
she will always be there ...

The International Fashion press
considered Aimée a a fashion icon,
the first time in the late 1930s.

An almost 70 !! years later
Vanity Fair elected her the Wolrd's best dressed Woman
of the yerar 1996
Vanity fair Fashion Hall of Fame

Aimee inspired many people
from different fields:
Fashion Designers, Decorators , Perfumers,
Hoteliers, Artist, Politicians, Industry Tycoons
and of course many Jewellery houses
form all different times of the century
back to the inventor and founder of General Electric
Thomas Edison.

Incountable insider stories
have accompanied Aimée all her life.

When setting up the Fame list
5 years after her death
the editor of remembered
here and there
little anecdotes Aimée had told him
about many of the World's
major Brand makers she had well known in person ...
and which are now no longer possible to meet.

Thus her signature can be found in the
History & Timeline of the one or the ofther
comany on the Fame List ...

Grand Hotels of the
Her crazy and funny stories can also be found in the Grand Hotels of the World ...
She has known so many of them
telling us stories today nobody know any more ...

small parts of the text taken from an article by Mimi Romanov from the New York Times Sep 2006
a big thank you to Michele Kauffmann Benarush, Secretaria de Estado de Cultura do Rio de Janeiro & director of the Rio Fashion Museum
for uncountable fashion infos and references.

if you have any pictures or info about Aimee de Heeren
please send them to .... b "at"


Rio, Palacio de Catete
Villa La Roseraie, 12 rue Martias
17 Easth 90th Street around 5th Avenue
Louwana, 473 North Country Road
the Moon