August 25, 2009

Hurfane, Les Jardins de la Feuilleraie/Feuilleraie Gardens

Covering an area of around 300 m2 (3229 sq ft) this garden in France is all mosaic !!

Life and works

Renée Bodin (b. 1927), who prefers to be called Hurfane, a teacher of french and classic languages, all her life had the ambition to do some creative mosaic project, probably inspired by her mother who also made mosaics.

So, when in 1980, in her fifties, she could acquire a house with a garden in the small community of Harponvilliers, in the Perche area in France, she started this project.

For over thirty years she has been active in transforming the area around the house into a mosaic decorated environment. As she said:  "I made the cement myself. I learned how to make concrete when workers came to work at my house. They made fun of me because I wanted to play the mason. The cement is not difficult, it's like a cake with flour "  (Je faisais le ciment moi-même. J’ai appris à bétonner quand des ouvriers sont venus faire des travaux chez moi. Ils se sont moqués parce que je voulais jouer au maçon. Le ciment ce n’est pas difficile, c’est comme un gâteau avec de la farine)

this picture and the next one (2008) courtesy of Brigitte, Flickr 

The garden has two sectors, a rose one, with mosaics of animals, flowers and all kinds of countrylife, and a blue one, with elements of the universe, such as the sea, the stars, the heavens (as in the next picture).

In 2000 the site was  declared a monument (Patrimoine National du XXième siecle, 20th century national heritage) and from 2007 on it is owned by the Association of Perche communities, that takes care of the premises. The site is also member of the Chateaux de France organisation.

The community of Harponvilliers is some 30 kms from Chartres, where the Maison Picassiette is located (There is no relation between the two sites, however...)

Some documentation
* Article (July 2018) in french newspaper l'Écho républicain
* Review and pictures (summer 2010) on the website of Sophie Lepetit: long shots and also close ups 

* A video on You Tube (uploaded sept 2010).

* And another one featuring the cats in the world of Hurfane. Both videos by Christian.

first published aug 2009, last revised aug 2018

Les jardins de la Feuilleraie
28480 Harponvilliers, dept Eure-et-Loir, region Centre-Val de Loire, France
can be visited in summer,
april 15 - nov 2, weekends and tuesdays, 15-19 


  1. Hi Henk !
    I've been very absent for the past month or so while on vacation, and now am catching up on what you've been doing these past several weeks... wow, I can see you've been busy ! And no end of fascinating subjects that you have been digging up from all over for us...

    It never ceases to amaze me how some of the people you have reported on produce these incredibly intricate works of art, often taking years or decades to complete them, yet perservering, driven by some sort of urge to create a monumental work which will outlive them ; seeking some measure of immortality ? Or just fulfilling a compulsion to create ? Fascinating in any case. This lady must have some Roman empire blood in her veins, the Romans did alot of mosaic works all over... while in Lebanon and Syria a couple of years ago saw some beautiful examples.

    It is always a great pleasure to come and visit your site, to see the fruits of your research and read your thoughtful essays on these varied and wonderful creations.
    Very best wishes...

  2. Hi Owen, Hope you had a nice time being on holdiday. I did like very much to follow your advertures in Brittany, posting on a variety of subjects, all of them very interesting and well written. I could not resist commenting on the "vol des artichauts", that is such an interesting happening, wow, wished I could have been there, especially because I do like very much the sound of celtic music that is produced by these small breton companies of players, like the three that were in het artichaut competition.
    Thanks for your comments on this post (and some former ones). The mosaic works of Mme Hurfane indeed might be inspired by the mediterrenean (her mother stayed in Algeria and made mosaics too). I have seen wonderful examples of maroccan mosaic works as they are used for example in decorating bathrooms (beautiful combinations of blue colors...).
    I hope to go on for some time with my blog. Like to do it very much and feel happy if I happen to come along some site I did not know about, and sharing this with others who are interested in this specific world.
    Wish you all the best, have a good weekend.