The countryside is a strange place, especially the French countryside. If you have ever driven through the french countryside, you will know that it can be spectacularly beautiful… and empty. It is this emptiness which I find so fascinating. You can drive for hours through the villages and vineyards of the Drôme Region and not see a single soul. If it weren’t for the occasional parked car you could mistake the French Countryside for a ghost town, more akin to Brandenburg on a Sunday afternoon where people “fold up the sidewalks”, and peer through the curtains staring at passing strangers. But then you pass by Christian Guillauds house.
*L’étrange maison arc en ciel – The Strange Rainbow House*
So the story goes that Christian Guillaud who lives in the tiny village of Lens-Lestang, used to be a Sailor, who then became a second-hand dealer (also known as a Brocanteur).
It all started when he retired and decided to paint one of his many “collectibles” in a fresh color. This was the beginning to what can only be called an obsession. Soon enough, he had painted over almost every object he could find – and they seemingly began to burst out of his house and spread into his front yard, the roof, the little ravine next to his house – and even onto the little hill across the road.
To put it in Christians words as to why he continues:
“…Après des pots des pots et encore des pots de peinture, des laques et des vernis, en petit conditionnement de preference pour continuer a peindre et entretenir un dispositif qui ne demande qu’à exister le plaisir des yeux.”
“…After pots, and pots and even more pots of paint, lacquers and varnishes, preferably in small packaging, I go on with painting and maintain a project that only exists for the pleasure of the eyes.”
He does it just because its cool to look at. How nice of him.
Christian Guillauds “Rainbow House” is a more than welcome colorful diversion from the empty french villages and foggy countryside. The village of Lens Lestang is about 5 kilometers from Hauterives, and about 80 Kilometers away from Lyon. It goes without saying that its only reachable by car.
For a few more Pictures of the “L’étrange Maison” – check out the Flickr Album: L’étrange Maison Arc en Ciel
La maison arc en ciel
26210 Lens Lestang, Rhone-Alpes