Chopin's Winter of Discontent
Valldemossa owes much of its fame to the fact that the ailing composer Frédéric Chopin and his domineering writer/lover George Sand spent their ‘winter of discontent’ here in 1838–39. Their stay in the town – at the grand Real Cartuja de Valldemossa no less – wasn’t an entirely happy experience and Sand later wrote Un hiver à Majorque (A Winter in Mallorca), which, if nothing else, made her perennially unpopular with Mallorquins. Chopin’s poor health, the constant rain and damp, and the not-always-warm welcome from the villagers, who found these foreigners rather too eccentric, turned a planned idyllic escape from the pressure cooker of social life in Paris into a nightmare. But time is a great healer and Valldemossa makes great mileage from its discontented former guests, with a music festival in Chopin’s name and references to the couple visible all over town.