La Maison de Colette: A Liberated Woman Writer’s House

10 Rue Colette 89520 Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye

Known colloquially as “Collete”, the French writer, dancer, and beauty salon owner was known as one of the most liberated women of her time.

This old house museum in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, in Burgundy, France is Colette’s birthplace and the home where she spent the first 18 formative years of her life.

France's writer Colette

This is the place where the young Gabrielle Colette acquired a love of nature and beautiful detail, both of which profoundly inspired her later literary work.

France's writer Colette

She made her reputation as a writer and journalist, then later, a music-hall dancer and director of a beauty salon.

Colette was born in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, a small town in Yonne, on January 28, 1873. She was the youngest of four children.

La Maison de Colette

This chateau was Collett’s childhood paradise, but tragically, she had to leave it forever in 1891, due to her family’s financial difficulties.

La Maison de Colette

With its slate roof and blue shutters, the Colette house stands out from the other homes in the village. It has 13 rooms, an attic, outbuildings, and multiple cellars.

La Maison de Colette

La Maison de Colette in France

Colette was so fond of this house and so heartbroken to have been forced to leave it, that the melancholy of the place was echoed in her writings for decades.

La Maison de Colette

From her first novel, Claudine à l’école , published in 1900, to Ces dames vieilles , her last published text in 1954, the house in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye was recreated again and again in gorgeous detail in her descriptive narratives.

La Maison de Colette in France

What a delightful place to be haunted by as a writer!

La Maison de Colette in France

“Here Colette was born”

La Maison de Colette in France

In 2016, five years after its acquisition by the Association “La Maison de Colette” and after a thorough restoration, the native home of Colette opened its doors to the public as both an old house museum and a tribute to the famed French writer.

La Maison de Colette in France

What is so fabulous about this place is that the public is invited right into a bourgeois house from the second half of the 19th century, as if its occupants were still living there, without any barriers or ropes.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

It is a very intimate experience of stepping back in time to the magical place that inspired one of France’s most illustrious woman writers.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

Since nothing is off limits in this home, they only do tours with a maximum of 15 people at a time. That way, attendees can get an in-depth and personal experience as guests in Colette’s family home.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

This would be House Crazy Sarah’s dream job: a tour guide in a famous writer’s house!

La Maison de Colette writer's house

There were few photos online of the kitchen… just a couple of close-in tableau images of that lovely blue stove with the copper pots on top.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

But here is the enchanted view from the kitchen out into one of the many gardens surrounding the home:

La Maison de Colette writer's house

House Crazy Sarah did come across a watercolor rendering of the kitchen that gives us a better idea of what the room looked like.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

The curators remained as period-appropriate as possible with the decor and furnishings.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

On display are some of Colette’s writings.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

Below, a cozy attic bedroom…

La Maison de Colette writer's house

While the interior conjures the fine luxury of a certain period in French history, the gardens outside capture the essence of Colette’s carefree and storied childhood.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

These are images from the gardens at the back of the manor.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

But across the street in front of the home, the property’s gardens continue.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

La Maison de Colette writer's house

The home’s official website has this wonderful declaration:

La Maison de Colette can be visited as one turns the pages of a book. A “house-book”, to use the expression of journalist and novelist Jérôme Garcin, which still retains its poetry and its power of inspiration.

La Maison de Colette writer's house

A house book!

La Maison de Colette in France

Our dear Colette, what a legacy you have left us!

France's writer Colette

 

 

Sources:

https://www.facebook.com/maisondecolette89

https://www.vogue.fr/fashion-culture/article/the-many-careers-of-colette

https://www.vogue.fr/fashion-culture/article/virtual-tour-15-beautiful-writers-homes-france-balzac-rousseau-victor-hugo-zola

http://www.maisondecolette.fr/

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