La Donation Haracourt / Île de Bréhat, Brittany, France

La Donation Haracourt / Île de Bréhat, Brittany, France

no residency for artists… but for students living at the Cité Universitaire in Paris

‘Partir, c’est mourir un peu’
(Rondelet de l’Adieu, Edmond Haracourt)

…This is the beginning of the most familiar verse of the writer and poet Edmond Haracourt, the former dweller of this mansion.’To leave means to die a little’ literarily translated. And truly, if you have ever been to this impressive place nearly at the end of a small island in Brittany, north of France, you do not want to leave again.
Surrendered to the strong winds and the intense tidal, the natural stone house surely has seen better days from the inside, but this doesn’t detract from its charms. Always in sight the lighthouse, a stroll of about half an hour away.
No cars are allowed on the isle, except

some farming vehicles, so everyone uses a bicycle. Biking at least to reach the only little supermarket during the two opening hours in the morning or those two in the afternoon as there , having to get off when passing through the central village. How wonderfully this slows you down and reactivates all senses. During long walks from the north island, over the little bridge connecting both island parts, down to the most southern point and the harbor welcoming the mainland ferry twice a day, I always had one song in mind: Henri Salvador’s ‘Chambre Avec Vue’. Listen, if you like.

The former residence of the poet Edmond Haracourt at Île de Bréhat, Brittany, France is now property and in administration of the Cité Universitaire in Paris. Students of all disciplines can apply for a free two-weeks’ stay in summertime, and ten applicants of different nationalities are selected. During the rest of the year also non-students can rent the house and visit the place as guests.
I was lucky to be selected for this two-weeks stay here at the end of a student exchange with ‘Erasmus’ in 2001/2002 in Paris.
That time I was living at the German house ‘Maison Heinrich Heine’ at the Cité Universitaire for two semesters, also assisting with their events as ‘tutrice culturelle’.
I remember well that after the residency at the Fondation Haracourt I wanted to travel on to Avignon to attend the biggest theatre festival in Europe. But it was exactly the season when there was a big strike and all official performances were cancelled. What a pity… for the performers as well as for the audience.

See all info regarding this residency and the former house of Edmond Haracourt on the homepage of the Cité Universitaire, Paris XVI (in Frensh only).
Further info on the island Île de Bréhat, how to get there, climate, policy etc. on wikipedia.
Photos: CIUP