Monday, June 06, 2005


After touring Chartres cathedral and eating some lunch, we took a short bus ride across town to La Maison Picassiette.

Raymond Isidore built his home in the 1930, shortly after getting married to a woman with three children. In 1938 he started decorating his home with mosaic. He is quoted as saying "I built my house first of all to put a roof over our heads. Once the house was completed I went for a walk in the fields and it was then that I saw by chance little bits of broken glass, fragments of china, broken crockery. I gathered them together without any precise intention for their colors and sparkle."

At first he planned to decorate the walls with these colorful fragments. However, the decoration became a devotion and eventually he created mosaic decorations on the floors, ceilings and every piece of furniture. Really, everything is covered with mosaic in La Maison Picassiette. It kind of made the group wonder how his wife put up with this obsession, even if it was art. It was their home!

Chartres mosaic in the front yard.

As the work on his home continued Isidore earned a derisive nickname: Picassiette. This name was a double entendre....first because the word means thief of plates (pique-assiette) and second because of the play on Picasso and plates (Picasso-assiette). According to some reports, Isidore used tens of thousands of broken plate pieces for his mosaic home.

A graveyard sweeper by day, Isidore devoted somewhere around 25 years, 29,000 hours and 15 tons of crockery on his project in an effort to escape the monotony of his everyday existence.

This was by far one of the most interesting and unusual places I've been to because it was just so odd. I love mosaic's and Isidore's work is beautiful, but I couldn't quite get over that feeling that he must have been a bit off or completely obsessed to have accomplished this amazing home. But others must think that this place is worth a visit.... something like 30,000 people tour Isidore's home every year.

Eiffel Tower in mosaic... backyard garden.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:02 PM



Ah, it's so great to read your blog again, Auntie! Thank you for reading mine while I was in Italy, I loved your comments! What's so unfair is you live in Europe and do stuff like this regularly, and I had to come home to humid, miserable Florida. Seriously, the weather here is awful. It was sunny the entire time I was in Italy... I think I'm paying for it now.

I do love that Eiffel Tower mosaic. Great pictures, as always. At least I have an arsenal now of 500 to try and top you!

# posted by Joe : 11:19 PM  

I was so glad to read about this. I love Chartres, but never have seen this Picassiette place. Thanks for the tip.

# posted by Michael : 6:34 AM  

Hello Auntie M! I love your blog, everything you post is always interesting. I thought this might interest you since you have kids and they are almost on vacation: Nutella organizes breakfast for kids in Paris (metro St-Paul, 46, rue de Sevigne) and it's a lot of fun. They cook nutella crumble or egg "a la coque" with nutella and "mouillette" of nutella... Too bad it only lasts 40 days... Anyway, great blog and I hope you keep on having a good time in Paris!

# posted by camomille : 10:14 AM  

That house is very cool -- nothing like a little OCD to bring out interesting things ...

# posted by Mike in DC : 4:16 PM  

What a great find. I will go there for sure on my next trip. The pictures look great. Thank you very much for sharing your adventures.

# posted by Pecos Blue : 4:18 PM  

love this - day in paris
an out of the "blue" type house
(at least much of the house looks blue on my pc)
thanks for the pic and the post
since i may never get to france
i truly enjoy the bits you give us

make a book, i'd buy it :)

# posted by Anonymous : 4:46 PM  

WOW, I can only imagine what the entire place looks like. It's amazing.

Did the kids come with you? What did they think of it?

# posted by BohemianMama : 6:06 PM  

That's got to be the coolest house I've ever seen! I love mosiac.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Come back whenever you want. :-)

# posted by Indigo : 7:26 PM  

I don't think odd...I think maybe a bit depressed over his vocation and this was the way to overcome it all and create beauty within his existence. I love it!

# posted by daisyspetals : 8:35 PM  

Most interesting. It was a labor of love, obviously. It may also have become an obsession, although a harmless one, in my opinion.

# posted by kenju : 9:42 PM  

Hi Camomille !

Nutella organizes breakfast for kids in Paris (metro St-Paul, 46, rue de Sevigne) and it's a lot of fun. They cook nutella crumble or egg "a la coque" with nutella and "mouillette" of nutella... Too bad it only lasts 40 days...

It lasts 40 days because this year Nutella (which is Italian, not French) is celebrating its 40th anniversary.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 1:17 PM  

Nutella definitely is Italian... they seem to love that stuff. I didn't eat any while I was there though. They kept giving it to us to put on our croissants/cornetti at breakfast every morning, but I really preferred jam.

# posted by Joe : 11:01 PM  


# posted by bad credit home equity loan : 10:47 PM  

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