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Brigitte Bardot and Buzios…tudo bem!

May 21, 2014

She arrived in Buzios, in love with a playboy who then ended up in the background, as Brigitte succumbed to the magic of the tranquil fishing village which in turn was dazzled by the French diva.

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After this, neither she or the place were ever the same again. And as for the playboy who seduced her, no one ever heard of him again……..

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It was a brief and intense love affair, a summer romance, one of those stories which set on fire the hearts of those who live them: Buzios was marked for life; images (4)Brigitte Bardot was bowled over by his wild nature and even though she later decided to break off their romance there, the village was never the same again. The French bombshell transformed it into the “Saint Tropez” of Brazil, and Bob Zagury, the Brazilian playboy who was with her at the time was soon pushed into the background in this triangle.

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It all started when the actress, who was at the height of her fame, flew to Rio to see Bob Zagury. On landing she realized that their romantic getaway had been filtered and a huge throng of paparazzi awaited her at the airport. Legend says that the couple took off, leaving all their personal belongings behind, including passports.

A few days later, barely able to even leave their apartment due to the constant press harassment, Brigitte prepared to return to Paris, when they came up with an idea to try to make a deal with the press. They would leave the city and head for a quiet place, with their friend and French photographer, Denis Albanèse, who would cover Bardot’s holiday and then share the photos with the paparazzi, in return for some peace and quiet. The offer worked.

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They set sail on a yacht, bound for Armação do Buzios, where they then settled for three months living amongst fishermen and children. A peaceful moment, living in peace, in love, amongst nature and with freedom. Later, Brigitte Bardot then set off to Paris but returned towards the end of the same year, although after this second trip she never returned again.

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Images from this time can be seen in a museum hall situated in the street which runs through the town, where the famous life size, bronze sculpture of Bardot can also be found in front of the Praia de Armançao.

 Even though only two years after Bardot’s visit, Mick Jagger, vocalist for the Rolling Stones, arrived in Buzios and played guitar in Praia do Canto for the fishermen and a group of youngsters from Rio, and throughout the years numerous stars, including Madonna have passed through, no one has ever come close to making the same impact as Brigitte Bardot.

IT WAS A TIME OF LOW PROFILE, WARM WATERS AND A PEACEFUL ATMOSPHERE. She walked with her cat, dressed in her Tahitian sarongs, wore flowers in her hair and surprised people by being one of the first to go topless on what where almost virgin beaches.

In philosophical discussions she advocated a path of love and contact with nature and animals, the importance of ecology, not consumption, and the constant celebration of life and love. She spent her days on the beach with friends, waiting for the men to bring back some fish, and would then perhaps have some caipirinhas mixed with guitar playing, where she sang, danced and the Sea was her witness.

 

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The more than 400 images, promised by Albanèse to the world’s press (some of which are shown here), not only showed the blonde’s spontaneous beauty in a bikini, but also the gorgeous beaches. It took no time for them to make their way round the world, with everyone then beginning to search for this earthly paradise.

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The publicity was tempting and Buzios began filling up with curious people who wished to swim in the same waters as the French star. Within a couple of years Buzios was full of tourists, lodges and craft shops. Today, four decades later, it is one of the top spots par excellence, with more than 400 lodges, and where the Brazilian and Argentinean elite spend their summer, as well as travelers from all over the world.

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Buzios is an obligated stop on luxury cruise liners, which still manages to maintain its gentle air, and is still thought of as a place where one can leave their windows and doors open, with no need for big houses to install bars or electric shutters. Even though it is a neighbouring town to Rio it is light years away from there, security wise.

Spaces occupied by rustic shops are now exclusive boutiques selling exclusive brands and it is filled with stylish restaurants. The romantic Rua das Pedras, where they stayed, has now become a bustling, pedestrianized promenade, which is full of life both day and night.

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I UNDERSTAND THAT SHE HAS NEVER RETURNED. SHE HAS BEEN INVITED AT LEAST A THOUSAND TIMES BY THE TOWN’S MAYORS in the hope of making a great return event, but Brigitte never accepted…….She is clever enough to know that no one can stop time and to know that the best gift to the Buzians and other visitors is to “maintain the myth,” as was once said by the Argentinean Marcela Mayol to O’Globo.

At that time she was married to Ramon Avellanda and stayed at his clay-brick home, which is now the Pousada de Sol and the Cigalon restaurant. There was no running water or electricity but, “With grilled fish, a viola and 27 years old, what else do you need?” asked Marcela to O’Globo.

Sonia Persiani leased part of the house and is witness to the fact that curiosity still surrounds Bardot. “The majority of tourists come to find out where she stayed and stay for a long time looking at photos from that time. They want to know where she went, what she did,” she explains. “Even the French are impressed and suggest that the actress is more famous here than in her own country!”

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It goes without saying that the main coastal promenade is called Orla Bardot, with the local cinema and gallery both bearing her last name and her image lies immortalized in a sculpture by a local artist Christina Motta, looking out to sea onto the Armação beach, frozen in time and idealized by her beloved Buzios. She can be seen sitting in front of the sunset, near three fishermen who are collecting their nets.

 AND HOW WAS BUZIOS NOT GOING TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HER…? “She was truly fascinating, pleasant, very educated, cultured …She sang, danced, cooked, …tudo Bem! She deserved the admiration she received,” says her Chilean friend Goya Silva. She met Brigitte in Geneva around the middle of the decade and forged a great friendship. ” She had been to Buzios recently for the second time and spoke of the place with great affection, especially since she could walk free and people were very friendly. They treated her like a Queen and they didn’t harass her,” she says.

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The fishermen then, who worked by bartering and lived of the sea are no longer there. Raul de Avellaneda’s home in the Rua das Pedras remains standing,but  is surrounded by a mix of both modern and old-fashioned constructions,  giving way to all kinds of shops, bars and restaurants that never close. The hustle is intense by day and by night with famous  branded clothes shops, elegant boutiques,  more restaurants and even more shops … What would Bardot say if she saw her  bay today?

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Maybe this is another reason for her not to return. “Not only would Buzios come face to face a different Brigitte Bardot,” as warns her friend Marcela Mayol, “but so would Brigitte herself have to face another, new reality.” Although Buzios is still a wonderful, romantic and unique place, little remains of the beautiful bay that mesmerized Brigitte, or from the virgin beaches that listened to her sing. It would perhaps be better for them both to remain with the memory of what it was.

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