July 30, 2011

Francis Barale, Maison des poupées / Doll house

 picture (around 2007) newspaper La Provence

Just outside the community of Gardanne on the road (D7) to Luynes in the Provence area of France, one could drive past a house with a decorated facade. 

Life and works

Francis Barale (1930s ?- 2017) was the author of this project. A local Gardanne magazine from early 1998 (on page 7) has the story, reporting that Barale at that time was retired and had over twenty grandchildren. So I suppose at that time he was in his sixties, and was born in the 1930s.

Barale has been a gardener and he has worked in a touristic pottery shop in Valabre, making and selling tiles and other tourist items. He told the local journal he felt "attached to things", and didn't like throwing away objects.

So in the garden of his house he made kind of an exposition of many objects, mainly children's toys, and he abundantly decorated the facade of the house with dolls, in this way producing quite decorative scenes, as next pictures show.

this picture and the next one (Fenruary 2005) 

Francis Barale told the journal: "When my grandchildren do not use their toys any more, I ask them to give them to me, and when they visit me, they enjoy themselves (---). It gives them pleasure to see them there, exposed"

As far as I understand, in March 2011 the dolls and other objects have been removed (see documentation) 

Francis Barale died in 2017.

* article (1998) in local magazine Énergies (p 8)
* pictures (nov 2010) on weblog  photopus13
* post in weblog Animula Vagula (Augusr 2009), with pictures and comment (April 2011) saying that the dolls have been removed

Francis Barale
Maison des poupées
Gardanne, dept Bouches-du-Rhône, region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
streetview (as it was in 2008)


  1. Hi Henk... any idea why the dolls were removed ? By choice or by order ? Something like La Demeure du Chaos which the town hall is trying to have cleaned up ? Hope you are having a fine summer !

  2. Hi Owen, I guess it doesn't have to do with some demand from authorities, but hope to know more about this soon from a contact over there.
    I very much liked your pictures and stories of the Causes, have been travelling there myself many times, wonderful nature.
    Bes, Henk