September 02, 2009

Bernard Roux, La Maison du macon/The mason's house

pictures (2007) courtesy of Quercus49 
from website Petit-Patrimoine

We find ourselves in troglodyte country. Troglodytes are underground dwellings dugged out and lived in by man. The Saumur area in France boasts the largest concentration of these dwellings in Europe.

Located in that area, the community of Doué la Fontaine also has its number of troglodytes. There even is an art environment that is realised in a garden at the exterior of a troglodyte, a creation by Bernard Roux.

Life and works

Bernard Roux was born in 1930 in Angers. He lived for some time in Saumur and when he got married in the early 1950s, the couple settled in Doué la Fontaine, a community not far from the Loire river in the Saumur area.

He had various jobs, such as butcher, carpenter and mason, and currently he is retired.

From 1957 on Roux has been active in transforming the garden of his house into an art environment, decorating the walls with frescoes and mosaics and making assemblages of dolls and dwarfs.

The frescoes and mosaics on the wall depict characteristic houses, churches and castles from various regions in France. 

There are representations of people too, some of them inspired on Walt Disney characters.

In his late 1980s Roux would still welcome tourists who visit Doué la Fontaine if they like to look around in the garden. 

When in the early 2020s he was in his early 90s his daughter and his grandson would take care of the maintenance of the site.

A video by NEO of Bernard Roux and his wife presenting the site (see documentation), published on their Facebook page, got some 12.000 likes.

* Weblog of Sophie Lepetit August 20, 2011 
* Article (August 2012) in weblog Animula Vagula
* A report by Jessica Straus, editor of the weblog Quirk, about her visit to troglodyte country and Roux's site in the spring of 2017
* Website Habitants-Paysagistes (Lille Art Museum), with photos by Francis David
* On her FB page (January 12, 2023) Sonia Terhzaz has a review of the site based upon a visit she paid to Bernard and Marie-Anne Roux in April 2022
Article about the site by Sonia Terhzaz on her website Cartographie des Rocamberlus (environments d'art singulier), reporting the visit she paid in April 2022

* Video (October 2022) by NEO, as published on their website.

first published February 2009, last revised April 2023
Bernard Roux
La maison du maçon
455 Rue des Perrières
49700 Doué la Fontaine, France
no more visits


  1. Nice to be able to signal with the open gate. It seems very civilized.

  2. Hello Suzan, Indeed, this is a friendly and civilised way of telling visitors they are welcome. I was informed about this by the local tourist office. All the best, Henk

  3. Another one to add to my list... I wish I could spend full time just travelling to see places all over France and elsewhere in Europe, rest of world... But at very least, we can do some travelling vicariously... thanks to you Henk...

  4. And I will do some travelling in my mind researching and composing the notes in this weblog, which is also a very nice experience. All the best, Owen.