Monday, 14 April 2014

Hauteville House

I did not leave the B&B today until 12.30, which is some kind of record. 90 mins of my morning was spent Skyping with Alfie and Cara, which was fantastic, and then I knuckled down to attempt some serious homework. And I got somewhere. But the lure of the sun and warmth was too strong, and I packed up and left for a long walk, a leisurely lunch in a cafe, and a spot of shopping before meeting Mum and Marnie at 2pm. We walked to Hauteville House, Victor Hugo's home on Guernsey and killed time in the beautiful gardens there until 3pm when we were booked in for an English tour through the house. Hugo lived in the house for 14 or so years, during his exile from France, and wrote a large body of work there. He designed all the house's decoration himself and my goodness, it is bizarre. The rooms are quite dark, because he used very dark wood from different chests and antiques as panels, and hung many tapestries from the ceiling. He has used a wide variety of fabric and tiles on the walls as well. It is four storeys high, with absolutely breathtaking views of St Peter Port and the other Channel Islands, particularly from his attic study and bedroom. (Rumour has it that he installed his mistress down the street purely so he could work naked and flash her from his attic rooms). He has his main library located in his hallway because he didn't like how little library rooms were visited. If the library was located on your way to somewhere else, you were more likely to pick up a book. I've decided to adopt this practice at home and in the future (take note, Sean). There's lots of symbolism and different artwork throughout the place, and in the dining room there is a special chair for ancestors and those who are no longer around (Hugo was probably thinking particularly of his deceased daughter, Leopoldine). Our guide was French, and worked really hard to get the translation to English perfect. She was wonderful, and I would highly recommend anyone interested in Hugo's work to see the house. It really highlights his eccentricities. I can see how influential the house could be on an artist's work.

Hugo's bed

View from attic bedroom

Drawing room (one of a few)

Hauteville House gardens

House entrance


Drawing room (one of a few)
We walked back to the main town and had ice-cream and coffee, then wandered up to the lovely, peaceful Candie Gardens (including a statue of Hugo, man of the hour). Again, absolutely brilliant views of the port, and some very expensive real estate in this part of town. Then it was home time. We're watching Poirot on television and eating. Perfection.

Statue of Victor Hugo

Candie Gardens

Candie Gardens

No comments:

Post a Comment