From our special envoy in Guernsey
It’s raining when the plane lands on the tarmac of the airport of Guernsey. From there, a coach from Island Coachways leads visitors to St Peter Port. Along the cottages well arranged, the imposing delegation of journalists came to celebrate the reopening of the maison de Victor Hugo thinks that here the grass may be greener elsewhere. It was this that the exile from the Second Empire decides to become the owner on may 16, 1856, and to stay there for 15 years.
” READ ALSO – When The Figaro was visiting the wonderful maison de Victor Hugo in Guernsey in 1878.
The bus climbed a narrow alley, Cornet street – subtitles street of the cone and stop, at 38 rue Hauteville in front of a town house, to look sober and austere. On the facade, a plaque recalls that it was given by the descendants of the poet to the city of Paris.
The entrance of the Hauteville House, where Victor Hugo lived during his exile on the Channel islands. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP
Behind a window, one can see the silhouettes of Christophe Girard and Jean-Jacques Aillagon. The first is where the title of assistant to the culture of the city of Paris while the former minister of culture and former president of the palace of Versailles advises François Pinault, whose generous sponsorship (€3.5 million) has allowed for the miraculous rehabilitation of the premises.
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The door crossed, this is not in a house which one enters but into the lair, the cave, a sort of Ali Baba. Wood panelling, tapestries, silks, earthenware, ceramics, etc. From walls to ceilings, everything is just buildup, tangles of disparate materials and incongruous. Rarely still will have given the impression of being so haunted by the genius bubbling out of a spirit of overheating.
On a heavy front porch, his name carved throne near the title of one of his novels fetishes, Notre-Dame de Paris . The walls of the Living room of the Pool are covered with paintings of the family, of which the most majestic is that of the poet. “Ego Hugo,” proclaims an inscription engraved on the back of a chair. On the fireplace in the dining room, a H massif stands out in tiles.
Woodwork, tapestries, silks, earthenware, ceramics, etc. From walls to ceilings, everything is just buildup, tangles of disparate materials and incongruous. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP
Hugo bumps like a bird crazy against all the walls. Seized by this decorum, such as gulls invited to an improbable feast, the journalists are scattered in the floors. Pickups will tend to Gérard Audinet. With his subject as much as he has, the director of the homes of Victor Hugo explains the need for the poet to form a “shell” by creating a protective environment.
Guillaume Durand Radio Classique, crosses Adelaide de Clermont Tonnerre, who heads the Point of view ; Adrien Goetz, of the Institute, talks with the historian Alexandre Gady. Is Hugo superstar. “Is this all the world has an umbrella?” worries an organizer by distributing transparent.
” READ ALSO – Paris, maison Victor Hugo became a museum on June 30, 1903
You push the door that leads to the garden, paddock swept by the wind and overlooking the sea. In the centre, a basin. Indifferent to the rain which marks its waterproof, with something Hugolien in the beard and the silhouette, the landscape architect Louis Benech — moccasin-suede and velour pants — yellow details her work replanting: “The oak has the collar all attacked, I’d like to multiply,” he says, worrying about the fate of the oak “of the United States of Europe” planted by Hugo on July 14, 1870. Far away from the camera, Benech lights a cigarette: “I added a bit of mist.” He speaks of palm trees, rustic and camellias, of which he had to trim the lower part so that they wouldn’t hide the view towards the France; of magnolias, fuchsias and battalions of hydrangeas.
Francois Pinault, and Anne Hidalgo in the garden of the house of Hauteville House. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP
Back inside. A staircase covered with a thick red carpet with lily flowers leads to the first floor. Some time ago, socialist disert, Christophe Girard recalled that after temptations monarchists, Hugo has finished his career as a senator on the benches of the extreme left republican. Nobody’s perfect. In his three-piece suit, with his tie in wool, Aillagon seems to be a bit “british”. However, be reminded of a history buff, it is in his quality of Duke of Normandy the Queen of England reigns over the stone.
upstairs, the living rooms — blue, red — labouring under the drapes. Everything is gilt, lacquer, fabrics. Gas flares in gilded wood, buddha, figures, exotic is reflected in mirrors. The symbols are scrambling. At the centre of this shambles colorful, fragile flower in front of the winter garden, a small blonde woman, Odile Blanchette smiled at the photographer who is seeking the light: “I am a woman in the shadow”, she advocates gently. Consul of France in Guernsey, the curator of Hauteville House lives in a modest corner of the house for the past 15 years: “restoration”, she said, has put an end to the infiltration of water and air currents. It has made to objects in their splendor sheen.
hundreds of books turn yellow behind the glass of a library on the first floor of the house of Hauteville House. LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP
on The second floor, the gallery of oak is a heavy theatre gothic, and the walls, covered with Latin inscriptions, such as graffiti, say the exile, the pain and the bombastic. Signs of religious, mythological, occult forces, the brain of Hugo is a maze and crowded. Hundreds of books turn yellow behind the glass of a library. A hidden passage, a narrow staircase leads to the light. It is in this canopy was posed in the height, which was renamed the look-out, that Hugo ended Les Misérables .
” READ ALSO – may 22, 1885 Victor Hugo dies in Paris
inner Storm fed grandiose visions. In good weather, it seems, we can see the French coast. On that day, admiring the magnificent restoration completed thanks to his gifts, François Pinault can only guess, behind the bay window in tears, his beloved city of Dinard. At his side, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, reminds us that the writer was also the author of an essay on Paris. It called – already — the innovation that it embodies. The poet was not the only one to love make the dead speak.