I just had to share this photo.
It shows a jokily mocked-up hard copy of my novel Loving Le Corbusier sitting proudly on the roof terrace of one of Le Corbusier’s beautiful houses in the Cité Frugès at Pessac. It was sent to me by Jean-François and his partner Maryvonne who own not one but two houses at Pessac. This one is the Harg House, a Type Gratte-Ciel, or skyscraper type, which has stunning views over the whole development. The other is a Type Zig-Zag which they are currently restoring back to its former glory after reclaiming it from years of neglect.
I’m particularly touched by this photograph because it also shows the only remaining detached house in the development, and this is the house into which Le Corbusier took Yvonne when they first visited Pessac together in 1926. It’s a scene I write about in the novel. The house had been furnished by the local Aux Dames de France department store as a showhouse but due to the frightening modernity of the whole place, local plumbers refused to link the development to the water supply and the houses remained unlived in until the end of the 1920s. In my novel, Yvonne is unsure what to make of it, especially all the coloured walls. She has never really visited any of her lover’s buildings before and he is snappy when she says so little. It’s a sign of the communication problems they will continue to suffer, even when married.
The Cité Frugès recently celebrated its 90th anniversary with festivities, including a vintage car parade and a Le Corbusier lookalike. Everyone is waiting to hear if the development is to be granted World Heritage Status, along with Le Corbusier’s other major works.
You can keep up with events at the Cité Frugès through www.lamachineahabiter.com and you can also rent Harg House: www.lecorbusier22.com completely surrounded by the glory of Le Corbusier. For the moment, I’m happy to see my book sitting there. Among friends, in all ways.