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Chartres France: Check Out Picassiette's House Too!

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Most visitors that flock to Chartres, just over an hour by train from Paris, make a beeline from the world-famous Gothic Cathedral - which indeed is a marvel and served as a template for Gothic cathedrals all over Europe after it made that artform of church-building popular (or so I learned in Art History class... may not be totally true) - and after a good look or Malcolm Miller's iconic and rivetting tours of the cathedral make a beeline back to the train station or their cars and leave town seeing little besides the cathedral.

Tant pis - or too bad IMO because Chartres has another world-famous art monument - La Maison de Picasseitte about a mile away from the cathedral in a residential part of town. Now hailed as a marvel of Art Brut or Art Naive - along with the likes of the Watts Tower in L.A. and the Heidelberg Project in Detroit - this example of Naive Art is dazzling in practically ever inch of house and garden.

Raymond Issadore was a street sweeper in Chartres before WW2 and had a knack of picking up street detritus like especially ceramic items then fashion it into art in the form of mosaics in his house and garden so that by the time he died practically every inch of both were filled from top to bottom with wonderful mosaics - some of the famous cathedral itself.

And it all remains on show for visitors who are ferreting his home out and making it a pilgrimage mecca for loves of Art Naive the world over.

Why was Raymond called Picassiette? Well as the story goes from my research I once did for an article on Chartres - several sources said that it was a belittling form of total disrespect from neighbor kids - you know how mean they can be to an eccentric old guy like Raymond - yelling a feminized form of Picasso at Raymond as a satirical insult and the name stuck and now his house is known as the Maison of Picassiette!

So leave time in Chartres not only for the awesome cathedral but to explore this lively regional commercial town as well which also has another ancient church that would be a major draw in most cities and a Petit Venise area of an old mill and a canal lined by ancient wooden facades but also to visit Picassiette's House (and garden).

Would enjoy hearing about anyone else's experience visiting it! I suppose it is not everyone's cup of tea.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzsVrVhoLvQ

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