The Folio Society recently published a limited edition of Hugo‘s ‘Les Miserables’ which is very popular and much talked about on several FS Groups.
Last week I was most happy to visit the house where the great French writer Victor Hugo (1802-1885) lived for some 15 years: in St. Peter Port, on the island of Guernsey.
After being expelled from France and later from Jersey, Victor Hugo moved to Guernsey which is one of the Channel Islands and only about 12 miles off the coast of France. It’s 1855. At first Hugo stays for almost a year in a house in rue de Hauteville, no. 20, called ‘Hauteville Fairy”
A year later in 1856 he moves to a much larger home further up the road which he calls “Hauteville House“. A major refurbishment takes place.
Hugo’s house happens to be a very remarkable strange house: gothic avant-la-lettre to my opinion, with walls and ceilings completely covered with dark colored wood carvings, abundant tapestry, delft tiles, paintings and so on. Imagine that there was no electricity in the 1850’s yet so he had to lit the house by gas light and candles alone and it must have been very dark indeed. I should say it’s no wonder that Hugo suffered from nightmares and looked for a brighter place to work.
He found a solution by turning the attic into a large, completely glassed, lookout .
Here we find part of his library and room for his manuscripts.
In a side chamber he makes his new bedroom. From the windows he overlooks the harbour of St. Peter Port, the islands of Herm and Sark and on bright days the coastline of France (photographed from the second floor). On this spot he completed Les Miserables.
Hugo’s house is open for guided tours only. It’s allowed to make photographs but only without flash light. I regret that half of the pictures I made didn’t meet the qualification to publish here but I hope you nevertheless enjoyed this little contribution to a writer and artist who was definitely ahead of his time.