Sisley, Anaïs Nin, Alain Gründ, and the Chainsaw from Hell

Literary Tourist near Paris

Louveciennes is, for the most part, a quiet little village on the outskirts of Paris. We drove there from Le Mans for a meeting I’d arranged with the renowned children’s book publisher Alain Gründ. Louveciennes was a favourite spot for the Impressionist painters. All told, more than 120 paintings of the place exist, limned by the likes of Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, and Monet.


Entrée du village de Voisins by Camille Pissarro, 1872

Anaïs Nin lived here at 2 bis rue de Montbuisson from 1931-1935 with her husband Hugh Guiler. It was here where she first met her lover Henry Miller, where she launched her writing career with the famous Diaries, “There are two ways to keep a diary: live a day and describe it in five minutes, or live five minutes and spend the whole day describing them,” and where, in this “laboratory of the soul,” she entertained Antonin Artaud, Brassaï, Lawrence Durrell and other famed artists and writers. Here’s one of her descriptions of the house: “Every room is painted a different color. As if there were one room for every separate mood: lacquer red for vehemence, pale turquoise for reveries, peach color for gentleness, green for repose, grey for work at the typewriter.” Some visitors in recent years have been lucky enough to catch glimpses of these evocative colours, however, despite various efforts over the decades to turn the house into a writer’s museum, none have met with success. You can read more about Nin in Louveciennes here.

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After picnicking in the shade of an old stone church in the village’s centre square I strolled over to this gentleman

barber, louvecienne, paris

to discern directions to Alain’s house. He’s the barber. Has been for 25 years. His customers bring him back exotic combs from all over the world.

Barber

Alain’s place was only a five minute drive away, on rue Auguste Renoir. I was greeted at the gate by his wife, Monique. We walked up the garden path and met Alain sitting at that table over there on the patio.

We settled on a bottle of chilled rosé. It was warm outside. I sat down and methodically turned on both microphones, ready to engage in some ripping good conversation. The only thing that ripped however, was the soft, silent air, as a chainsaw burst full-throttle through it, obliterating any hope of a good recording. The noise kept up for much of the next hour and a half. I left the machines on anyway but the results were unusable. I’d have to play stenographer.

So, here goes.

Alain’s grandfather Continue reading “Sisley, Anaïs Nin, Alain Gründ, and the Chainsaw from Hell”

You can own the Pink Lady Victorian Mansion

Icame across this marvellously quirky mansion on a trip down to the States once. In case you’re feelin’ adventurous, here’s what Margo’s website has to say:

“The Pink Lady Victorian Mansion, circa 1875, is a beautiful building located in Richford, Vermont. There are 21 rooms, which include 6 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, and an adjoined apartment with separate entrance. Situated only a few miles from the Canadian border, this lovely 3-story, 7,158 SqFt building is currently run as a charming antique shop and the office of Sherwood Real Estate.

The current owner, Margo Sherwood, has been collecting precious jewelry and unique artwork for 50+ years, from all around the world. Every room of this historic building is filled to the brink with her collection of vintage paintings, lavish clothing, china and ceramic dishes, books, lamps, salt & pepper shakers, vinyl records, clothing, art glass, old newspapers and magazines, and an abundance of valuable artifacts. This structure is a treasure hunter’s paradise, and the owner is parting with the building and everything in it for such a low price, you’d think you struck gold!

[Although ‘books’ is a fair ways down the list, there are a ton of them]

The building emptied is being sold for $269,900. However, if you’re an adventure seeker or antique dealer, you might consider investing in this beauty with all it’s contents for $499,000.

This property is real estate broker owned, by Margo Sherwood of Sherwood Real Estate”

So, what do you think?