Friday Fun: Literary Villas in France

It’s been roughly a century since the French riviera and countryside were discovered by foreign writers. Here are a few of their villas and chateaux for your envious gazes…

Chateau de Charry, patrimoines. midipyrennes.fr
Chateau de Charry, patrimoines. midipyrennes.fr

After his separation from Angelica Bell, Bunny Garnett (former lover of Angelica’s father Duncan Grant) spent the rest of his days at this chateau in the south-west of France.

La Bergere, Cassis. Painting by Vanessa Bell.
La Bergere, Cassis. Painting by Vanessa Bell.

Vanessa and her family spent every summer in Cassis in the south of France. Virginia Woolf also visited them there.

Villa Mauresque, Cap Ferrat.
Villa Mauresque, Cap Ferrat.

Somerset Maugham lived in this spectacular villa near Cap Ferrat for over thirty years, until his death in 1965. It was remodelled and renovated for him by American architect Barry Dierks. Everyone who was anyone visited Maugham here: writers such as T.S. Eliot, Noel Coward, Ian Fleming but also political figures, including Winston Churchill. It is now a boutique hotel.

Vila Picolette, from curbed.com
Vila Picolette, from curbed.com

The villa where F. Scott Fitzgerald allegedly wrote ‘The Great Gatsby’ was up for sale in 2012. Although the Fitzgeralds moved in and out of several villas on the Mediterranean, the “price upon request” (read: an arm, a leg, and your first born) property in Cap d’Antibes boasts those delightful unnecessaries found in 19th-century homes: staff accommodations, pool terraces, a sauna, portholes, and “immaculate” gardens.

belles-rives-antibes

Above, the kind of hotel Rosemary might have stopped at on the French Riviera in the first part of Tender Is the Night.

And finally, this little treasure below. I could not establish any literary connections for it, but it’s in Provence near Avignon, it looks fabulous and it’s available for rent. When I have my next $9000 or so to throw away spend, I will stay a night or two there, invite all of you writer friends over and then it will have us as its literary connection!

Chateau Ventoux, from luxuryretreats.com
Chateau Ventoux, from luxuryretreats.com
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13 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Literary Villas in France”

  1. Very taken with Vila Picolette and ooo very happy to oblige & help make a literary connection at Ventoux… no euros to chip in I’m afraid but will they accept second born as deposit?

  2. Those are lovely… *sigh*. I dream of visiting the south of France before it was discovered, kind of “Break of Day” era Colette style. Alas, without a time machine I shall have to stick to dreaming….

      1. “Break of Day” was my first Colette and it’s possibly still my favourite!

      2. It’s a good’un! I grew up with Claudine. My mother thought they were perfectly adequate for a 10-11 year old (I suspect she hadn’t read them).

  3. Cap Ferrat must be one of the most expensive place in France. I would have loved to meet Maugham.

    So are you organising a book blogger convention Chateau Ventoux? 🙂

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