Hyères: muse of the South?
Did Hyères leave its influence of the numerous writers and artists who came to spend some time here? How many authors did the rooms of the Grand Hotel or, more humbly, the benches of Giens, silently welcome?
The writer Joseph Conrad (1921) mentioned the Giens peninsula in his latest book The Rover and Francis Scott Fitzgerald edited the manuscript of The Great Gatsby in Hyères. As for Robert-Louis Stevenson, he wrote numerous novels, including Prince Otto in 1884 from the comfortable settings of the Grand Hotel des Iles d’Or. Hyères hosted numerous other writers such as Alexandre Dumas, Alphonse de Lamartine or Leo Tolstoy among others.
Edith Wharton in 1889, she was 28 years old (photo E. F. Cooper)
F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1937, photo from Carl van Vechten.
typescript from Paul Bourget
“The hills of Hyères have seen the passage of leaders: countless queens, a future emperor and six French kings. […]
The most famous poets, musicians, artists, historians, philosophers and scientists have come to rest under the soft and warm light of Hyères. The works they produced are like the flowers of civilisation.”
Alfred Marie Cornille, Loisirs Philosophiques, 1858
Art and Surrealism
An exhibition on the cultural patronage of Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles is on permanent display at the Villa Noailles. Free entry.
The Villa Noailles, secondary home to the wealthy art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, regularly hosted the visits of the cultural and artistic avant-garde of the time. The couple also financed numerous artistic projects and artworks in painting, sculpture, music or cinema. The surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, as well as the music composer Francis Poulenc, the artists Man Ray, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso all spent some time at the Hyères villa.
Man Ray’s experimental film Les Mystères du Château de Dé was even shot on site at the villa in 1928.
Stevenson with family and friends
Biceps et bijoux, Jacques Manuel, 1928
Man Ray, les mystères du château de Dé, 1929