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François Blanc

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François Blanc
Born(1806-12-12)12 December 1806
Died27 July 1877(1877-07-27) (aged 70)
Occupation(s)Businessman, Property developer
Spouse(s)Madeleine-Victoire Huguelin
Marie Charlotte Hensel
ChildrenCamille Blanc
Charles Blanc
Louise Blanc
Edmond Blanc
Marie-Félix Blanc
RelativesPrincess Marie Bonaparte (granddaughter)

François Blanc (French: [fʁɑ̃swa blɑ̃]; 12 December 1806 – 27 July 1877), nicknamed "The Magician of Homburg" and "The Magician of Monte Carlo", was a French entrepreneur and operator of casinos, including the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. His daughter, Marie-Félix, married Prince Roland Bonaparte.

Early life[edit]

François was born on 12 December 1806 with his twin brother Louis. They grew up in a small town and were impressed every time circus came with a show - it seemed so interesting and simple so they followed the circus to learn all the tricks of the trade, boys were dreaming to become rich and successful and learnt so much and worked on different jobs.


Share of the "Société anonyme des fermes réunies du Kurhaus et des Sources minérales à Hombourg-ès-monts", issued 1 October 1859, signed by François Blanc

The brothers started to work in gambling business in Marseilles and earning some money. They then decided to develop their business and started to speculate on government pensions and got into real estate development. In that way they attracted attention to their business and were arrested, but not for a long time because law was not adopted yet for such cases. They were released and moved to Paris, but after King Louis Philippe passed new laws they had to move again - to Luxembourg. They ran profitable business there but it was just the first little step to their success in Hesse-Homburg near Frankfurt, where brothers signed a contract with a monarch because of debts of the city and in order to develop tourism industry.

One innovation was the introduction of the single 0 style roulette wheel in 1843.[citation needed] This allowed Bad Homburg to compete against the casinos of Paris which offered the traditional wheel with both single and double zero house pockets. A legend says that François Blanc supposedly bargained with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette. The legend is based on the fact that the sum of all the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 0 to 36) is 666, which is the "Number of the Beast".[1]

The venture was a great success, Homburg became popular in a moment with a lot of entertainment, gambling houses, hotels - all the richest and famous came there for new emotions and fun. In a while François Blanc was given the name "The Magician of Homburg".[2]

Homburg could attract people only in summer months, during cold winter all the tourists preferred to rest in warmer places. It gave an idea to François to move to South and open all-year business.

It happened that the Prince of Monaco had recently legalized gambling, so "The Magician of Homburg" became that first person to establish a casino operation in Monaco. To establish Monaco as a gambling mecca for the elite of Europe, he invested his money in roads, railways to make people come to Monaco as a new place of rest and fortune. His new King gave François a freedom, so he turned from "The Magician of Homburg" to "The Magician of Monte Carlo" and he left his mark in a history of Monaco.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Blanc's second wife, Marie Charlotte Hensel.

Blanc was twice married. His first wife was Madeleine-Victoire Huguelin (1823–1852). Together, they were the parents of:

  • Camille Blanc (1847–1927), who married Elisabeth Lanxade (b. 1852) in 1885.[4]
  • Charles Blanc (1848–1872), who died aged 24.

After the death of his first wife, he remarried to Marie Charlotte Hensel (1833–1881), with whom he had:[5][6]

Blanc died in Loèche-les-Bains on 27 July 1877.[11]


Through his daughter Louise, he was the grandfather of Louise Adela Radziwiłł (1877–1942) (who married Armand de La Rochefoucauld, duc de Doudeauville, and was the mother of Marie de La Rochefoucauld (1901–1983), who married Henri-Antoine-Marie de Noailles, 11th Prince de Poix) and Prince Léon Radziwiłł, who married Princess Dolores Radziwiłł and Antonine de Gramont.[12][13]

Through his daughter Marie-Félix, he was the grandfather of Princess Marie Bonaparte (1882–1962), who married Prince George of Greece and Denmark, the second son of George I of Greece and Olga Konstantinovna of Russia, and is remembered chiefly for having once saved the life of the future Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II in 1891 during their visit to Japan together.[14]


  1. ^ The last term in a sequence of partial sums composed of either sequence is 666, the "beast number".
  2. ^ Mad for Monaco: The Magician of Monte
  3. ^ Edwards, Anne (1992). The Grimaldis of Monaco: The Centuries of Scandal - The Years of Grace. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-08837-8.
  4. ^ Bulletin officiel des annonces commerciales (in French). Journaux officiels. 1978. p. 97. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  5. ^ Dolph, Charles A. (1927). The real "Lady of the camellias" and other women of quality. Frank-Maurice. pp. 131, 220, 222. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  6. ^ Annuaire de la noblesse de France et des maisons souveraines de l'Europe (in French). Bureau de la publication. 1882. p. 275. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  7. ^ Radziwill (Fürstin), Marie Dorothea Elisabeth de Castellane; Robilant, Mario Antonio Nicolis di (1934). Lettres de la princesse Radziwill au général de Robilant, 1889-1914: 1908-1914 (in French). N. Zanichelli. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  8. ^ Manach, Daniel; Sementéry, Michel (1997). La descendance de Charles X: roi de France (in French). Editions Christian. p. 203. ISBN 9782864960683. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  9. ^ The Cambridge Modern History. CUP Archive. 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  10. ^ Walton, Jean (2001). Fair Sex, Savage Dreams: Race, Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference. Duke University Press. p. 102. ISBN 9780822326113. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  11. ^ Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine. A. Roman and Company. 1900. p. 353. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  12. ^ Braude, Mark (2017). Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle. Simon and Schuster. p. 80. ISBN 9781476709703. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  13. ^ "SON OF MONTE CARLO'S OWNER Prince Leon Radziwill of Paris Paying Us a Visit. His Family Has Contributed Largely to History of Old World". San Francisco Call. 18 March 1903. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  14. ^ Bertin, Celia (1982). Marie Bonaparte: A Life. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. pp. 17–19, 24–25, 64, 66, 82–84, 94, 96–98, 105–106, 120, 136. ISBN 0-15-157252-6.

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