Les Vernelles, the soul of Maurice Genevoix

One enters the house of Maurice Genevoix (1890-1980) as one enters a book with yellowed pages, which perfumes the atmosphere with this singular smell produced by particles of dust. Since the disappearance of the writer, perpetual secretary of the French Academy, the furniture, trinkets, books and paintings of his painter friends from Loiret have never been moved.

→ PORTRAIT. To Maurice Genevoix, the homeland finally grateful

All the humanity of the author, so palpable in his work, loads the walls, lined with floral wallpapers or thick canvases, of the building acquired in 1928 with the money of the Goncourt Prize, obtained three years earlier for Raboliot. His heirs have always refrained from carrying out modernization work, as if they feared breaking the atmosphere of the place.

A house with “Therapeutic virtues”

During his life, Maurice Genevoix never betrayed his attachment to the Vernelles, where his daughter Sylvie was born in 1944. He put all his heart into the development of this typical house on the banks of the Loire, drawing the plans for the garden, planting the trees, like the lime tree obstructing the view today from his office which dominates the winding course of the Loire.

This property exercised over him “Therapeutic virtues”. Away from Paris, from the bustle of cultural life, to which he preferred walks along the river, he has never lived there. “As a hermit”, assures his grandson. “He was often there alone but never alone. He surrounded himself with his painter friends from Orleans. At Maurice Genevoix, the search for friendship was forged during the war, during which he experienced the death of his brother soldiers as an uprooting ”, tells Julien Larère-Genevoix, great craftsman of the entry of the author of Thirty thousand days at the Pantheon on November 11.

→ MAINTENANCE. “Maurice Genevoix is ​​a virtuoso of things seen”

In this green setting sculpted at the foot of the river, his inexhaustible source of inspiration, he received Maurice de Vlaminck or Marcel Pagnol, “Her great friend”, with whom he shared his love of nature.

The house will be accessible several times a year

Maintained by her two grandchildren since the death of their mother, Sylvie Genevoix (1944-2012), the property will gradually open to the public. The place will not, however, fall into the category of “Illustrious Houses”, which are offered continuously for visitors, but will be accessible several times a year.

“Maurice Genevoix wanted the house to remain a place of life for his family, but a few times a year, we could organize visits, readings or exhibitions ”, explains Julien Larère-Genevoix, moved to have seen a thousand people attend the show Maurice Genevoix. Of Loire and glory, which took place September 25-27.

At the same time, another project is taking shape in Châteauneuf-sur-Loire, located a few kilometers away. The small store that saw him grow up could become a museum to the glory of the child of the country.


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