Saturday, February 20, 2010

Maison Louis Carré

I have strong opinions about many things but when it comes to exploring Paris and its environs, I have no standards at all. Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, I'm pretty much game. So when I had the opportunity to visit a private home designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in Bazoches-sur-Guyonnes, about 40 kilometers southwest of town, I said, "sign me up."

Aalto designed the home for Parisian art dealer Louis Carré who moved there in 1959. From the exterior, it's not much to look at but the feeling completely changes once you walk in the front door. It's built like a wave into the side of a hill with commanding views of the surrounding countryside in every direction. Aalto designed it all (with help from a few collaborators) including the furniture, carpets, lighting, and the two most amazing walk in closets I've ever seen.

Carré picked the site because it's just across the road from where his friend, Jean Monnet, one of the architects of the European Union, lived. You can visit Monnet's house too, an interesting contrast since it's a typical French country house complete with thatched roof and fussy furniture. Frankly, either one would suit me just fine.

Both sites are open to visitors but at odd hours depending upon the season. Check the Web sites before you go:

Maison Louis Carré

Maison de Jean Monnet

There's lots more to see in this neck of the woods if you have a car and the time. I had lunch in the picture perfect village of Les Mesnuls before heading back into town but had no time to explore the church or the town's own chateau.


Starman said...

Too bad you didn't include a picture of the view.

Harriet said...

Nice post. Is it possible to reach this area by train/bus from Paris? Also, I could not get the first link to work.

I'm going to be in Paris in April and will have some time for day trips during one week. Do you have any suggestions???

Anne said...

Harriet: Thanks for alerting me to the broken link. It appears to be fixed now. There are details on how to get there by public transportation under "Practical Information."

Other good day trips are Chartres, Chantilly, and Reims. I wrote up my visit to Chantilly and Reims. At Chartres, there is of course the cathedral and a very nice museum of stained glass.

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