Victor Hugo is one of the greatest and most famous French writers, primarily known for novels such as Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. What is less known about the romantic novelist are his work as an artist and his intense political life.
- Victor Hugo’s House in exile: “An autograph on three floors and a poem in several rooms”
A fierce supporter of freedom of speech and universal suffrage, Hugo was banished from France after Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte seized complete power in 1852. He relocated first in Brussels and on the island of Jersey. By the time he landed on Guernsey in 1856, the exiled writer was in desperate need of asylum. To avoid being expelled once again, he acquired a house in St Peter Port with the proceeds from the sale of his collection of poems, Les Contemplations. Hauteville House became his home for over 15 years, the only home he ever owned.
Located at 38 Rue Hauteville and overlooking the old town of Saint Peter Port and Havelet Bay, the house is more than just the historic home of a writer; it is a work of art in its own right. Stepping into the house, full of furniture and tapestry, is like entering Hugo’s mind. Every corner resonates with hidden symbolism, defiant declarations and winks of humor. In the words of his son Charles, it is an “autograph on three floors and a poem in several rooms”. Hugo himself is rumored to have said “I missed my calling: I was born to be a decorator”.
- The renovation project
The house remained in the family until 1927, when it was donated to the City of Paris by Victor Hugo’s heirs on the occasion of the centenary of the Romantic Movement. Nowadays, Hauteville House is maintained as a museum by Paris Musées, which runs the capital’s fourteen museums. Open from April to October, it is one of the main touristic attractions in Guernsey, with over 20 000 visitors a year.
Despite regular maintenance, the house suffers from the severe weather conditions of the island. To protect the building and conserve its unique decors, Paris Musées is just about to launch a one-year renovation campaign.
With works due to start in October 2017, the project aims to provide overall protection for the building against wind and water and restore the interiors designed by Hugo, with a special focus on three of the most emblematic rooms of the House: the look-out, the conservatory and the red room.
- How to support us
The costs of this operation are very high due to the complexity of the works and the geographic situation of the island. We need support to help us preserve what makes Hauteville House so special: the interiors designed by Victor Hugo.
To restore the Hugo’s decors, we need to raise 100 000€:
- With 35 000€, we can renovate the look out (or crystal room) where Victor Hugo wrote masterpieces such as Les Misérables, The Legend of the Ages or the Toilers of the Sea
- With 70 000€ not only can we renovate the look out, but we can restore the conservatory which symbolized for Hugo the link between the house and the garden
- With 100 000€ we can renovate the look out, the conservatory and the vibrant reception room, the “salon rouge”.
To support us:
- donate online via our partner’s website: fondation-patrimoine.org/51228
- or contact us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals or corporate, your support is essential for the renovation of Hauteville House. Your donation will enable this house and its vibrant decors to thrive and inspire visitors for years to come.
Help us give Hauteville House a future; please donate.