The Polish prime minister said he had instructed the government to buy a house in France where Nobel Prize-winning scientist couple Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie spent vacations and weekends from 1904 to 1906 .
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Twitter this week that the house, in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, was “part of Polish history”.
The 120 square meter (1,300 square feet) stone and brick building in Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse costs 790,000 euros ($ 950,000). It’s in poor condition, but some of its peeling wallpapers, fireplaces and tiles date back to the Curie era, according to local real estate agency Stéphane Plaza.
It is said that Marie Curie, of Polish descent, may have painted ceiling designs herself, but there is no evidence of this.
“This property was built in 1890 and was Pierre and Marie Curie’s holiday destination between 1904 and 1906”, where they came with their daughters Irène and Eve, specifies Daniel Cazou-Mingot, director of the real estate agency.
“They (came) here on weekends, Easter holidays, summer vacation,” Cazou-Mingot told The Associated Press during a tour of the property on Wednesday.
“There has been no experience (on) this property.”
One day in April 1906, Pierre returned to Paris for a university meeting and was struck and killed by a horse-drawn cart.
“After this accident, Marie Curie came back from time to time with her daughters and then she stopped coming”, and the house – with its 900 m². meter (9,700 square feet) of garden, 19th-century dovecote, and water pump – has been sold, Cazou-Mingot said.
Renovation costs are estimated at around 200,000 euros ($ 240,000).
Cazou-Mingot believes that it will take “love at first sight and respect for the history of the property” for someone to want to invest in it.
Some critics in Poland have commented on social media that taxpayer money is being wasted in a house where Marie Curie did not spend long.
But the right-wing government has made it a priority to secure and take care of places and objects important to Polish history.
Born in Warsaw in 1867 under the name of Maria Sklodowska, the scholar moved to Paris in 1891 and was one of the first women to study science at the Sorbonne. She is pursuing a scientific career with her French husband. After the death of Pierre, who left the chair of physics at the Sorbonne vacant, she was offered the post and became the first female professor at the famous university.
In 1903, Marie and Pierre Curie and the French scientist Henri Becquerel jointly won the Nobel Prize in physics for their studies on radioactivity.
Marie Curie also won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1911 for the discovery of radium and polonium. The latter she named after Poland.
She died in 1943 in Passy, France, from radiation sickness. Marie and Pierre Curie are buried in the Pantheon in Paris, among other distinguished French citizens.