Online catalogue

Photographing Literary Landscapes

  • La Maison de Tante-Léonie

    In Illiers-Combray

    Overview

    The property that is now known as the Maison Tante Léonie, after the character from the novel who inhabits the house belonged to Proust's uncle and aunt, Jules and Élisabeth Amiot. The Maison de Tante Léonie and its garden in Illiers-Combray is also known as the Musée Marcel Proust. Proust stayed here in his youth when his family visited the little town. The house and its gardens are models for the similar house and gardens at Combray in Proust's novel.

  • Gates to the Marcel Proust Garden

    In Illiers-Combray

    Overview

    Jules Amiot created the Pré Catelan Garden in Illiers-Combray, also known as the Jardin Marcel Proust. He named his harden after a section of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Although this Pré Catelan was nowhere near the size of the size of the one in the capital, for the little town of Illiers its proportions were massive. Proust makes his uncle's garden that of Swann in his novel and is seen often in Du côté de chez Swann.

  • Le Loir River

    In Illiers-Combray

    Overview

    Le Loir River, not to be confused with the much larger Loire River, is the little river that runs through the town of Illiers-Combray. This river is similar to the one that Proust describes in Swann's Way as The Vivonne.

  • The Church of Saint-Jacques

    In Illiers-Combray

    Overview

    The church of Saint-Jacques in Illiers-Combray is one of the models for the Church of Saint Hilaire in Proust's novel. The church dates from the fifteenth century and, as its name indicates, was a stopping point on the major pilgrim route to Santiago di Compostella in Spain. The scallop shells (coquilles Saint-Jacques) worn by the pilgrims are found in the church as one of the decorative motifs. The shells have the same shape as the little cakes known as madeleines that feature in one of the most famous episodes in the novel.

  • The Grand-Hôtel of Cabourg

    In Cabourg

    Overview

    Balbec, the fictional seaside resort in Normandy, was inspired largely by Cabourg, which is a real city in northern France, and its waterfront Grand-Hôtel. This seaside resort on the Normandy coast is the model for the hotel in the novel that Proust locates in the fictional town of Balbec.

  • Dining Room at the Grand-Hôtel

    In Cabourg

    Overview

    Balbec, the fictional seaside resort in Normandy, was inspired largely by Cabourg, which is a real city in northern France, and its waterfront Grand-Hôtel. This seaside resort on the Normandy coast is the model for the hotel in the novel that Proust locates in the fictional coastal town of Balbec. During his long vacations at the hotel, Proust wrote many of the passages for his book.

    The building, its dining room, and the esplanade (now the Promenade Marcel Proust) that runs in front of the hotel along the beach are the models for the Grand-Hôtel at Balbec in the novel. Proust’s stays at the hotel ended due to the outbreak of World War I, during which time the hotel served as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

    During Les Journées Musicales de Marcel Proust in 2012, the dining was converted into concert hall.

  • Proust's Room, no. 414, at the Grand-Hôtel

    In Cabourg

    Overview

    Proust spent every summer from 1907-1914 at the Grand-Hôtel in Cabourg. This seaside resort on the Normandy coast is the model for the hotel in the novel that Proust locates in the fictional coastal town of Balbec. The Grand-Hôtel remains virtually unchanged from Proust’s era and continues to operate as a luxury hotel. Proust’s room, no. 414, was recreated with period furnishing and décor and can be booked at a slightly higher rate.

  • Cloud Study

    In Cabourg

    Overview

    There is a scene in Within a Budding Grove where the narrator describes the differing views looking out on the sea from his room at the Grand-Hôtel. He describes a particular view as a "premeditation or specialty of the artist's, to present a 'Cloud Study.'" In another, Proust makes an allusion to Whistler's Crepuscule in Opal.

  • The Eiffel Tower

    In Paris

    Overview

    On April 1, 1889, the City of Light inaugurated the world's tallest structure that soared 984 feet (300 meters) into space. This controversial tower of indefinable symbolic value was something the likes of which no Frenchman had ever seen and for which most Parisians already felt contempt. This incredibly expensive curiosity had been erected on the Left Bank of the Seine by a friend of the Prousts, an engineer named Gustave Eiffel. The most famous monument in Paris—perhaps in the world—played an important role in the defense of the capital during World War I. Proust makes a reference to its importance in Time Regained in a scene where he finds comfort in the intermittent beams of light coming either from the searchlights of the Eiffel Tower or from airplanes as Paris defenselessly awaited the enemy.

  • 102 Boulevard Haussmann

    In Paris

    Overview

    After his parents’ died Proust chose to live in an apartment at 102, boulevard Haussmann, an address that he made famous. The apartment had belonged to his maternal uncle and Proust decided to reside there because it was a place that his mother had known and hence held for him, as he wrote in a letter, “a tender and melancholy attraction which drew me back to it.” This is the façade of the apartment building located at 102, boulevard Haussmann in the eighth arrondissement, where Marcel Proust lived from 1906-19.

  • Parc Monceau Bridge

    In Paris

    Overview

    When school ended at three o’clock, Marcel and his friends often headed for the gardens along the Champs-Elysées or the nearby Parc Monceau where they would play. Among his playmates were Lucie and Antoinette Faure, daughters of Francois-Félix Faure, a family friend and future president of France.

  • W.C. Toilettes, Champs-Élysées

    In Paris

    Overview

    This facility is the site of two important scenes in the novel. "No doubt the keeper, before entering upon her tenancy, had suffered setbacks. But Francoise was positive that she was a marquise and belonged to the Saint-Ferréol family. This Marquise warned me not to stand outside in the cold and even opened one of her doors for me, saying: 'Won’t you go inside for a minute? Look, here’s a nice, clean one, and I won’t charge you anything.'" In The Guermantes Way, the toilettes are where the narrator's grandmother suffers a stroke.