October 02, 2013

Marie-José and Jean-Marie Moren, Paradis de statuettes/Paradise of statuettes

picture via streetview

The picture above shows a number of houses in a small social housing project south of Boulogne in France, dating from the 1960s. 

One of these houses has an abundantly decorated exterior, displaying both mosaics and all kinds of figurines, self-made and bought on flea-markets ¹.

Life and works

In 1987 Marie-José and Jean-Marie Moren, a mason, settled in this house. 

Around 1998 Mr Moren, because of physical problems had to stop working and then, just to have something to do, he began decorating the exterior of the house by adding mosaics to the low wall that separates the terrace in front of the house from the street.

this picture and the next ones courtesy of Laurent Jacquy

 He also embellished this low wall with kind of arcades, made from concrete.

Meanwhile, Mare-José began filling the terrace with nains, other figurines, decorative shells, trinkets and various small objects.

This creative activity became the Moren couple's full time passion. In the course of some fifteen years the exterior of the house has grown into an ensemble of bric-à-brac which by its large size and motley composition makes a rather special impression.

Mrs and mr Moren, currently (2013) around age sixty, spend all their time in supplementing the collection, ransacking  flee markets and garage sales in the near and distant surroundings, even as far as Belgium.

Jean-Marie Moren has also made a number of smaller creations from wood or concrete, depicting animals, some in the form of two-dimensional silhouettes, others in a three-dimensional version.


It does not happen very often, that a rented house is transformed into an art environment. In Belgium Jean-Pierre Schetz transformed the exterior of his rented house into a "corner in the sun". It was demolished by the housing company after he and his wife had died.

It remains to be seen what the future of the creative project of the Moren couple will be.

* article in Laurent Jacquy's weblog Les Beaux Dimanches, September 30, 2013

¹ Thanks to Laurent Jacquy who informed me about this site.

Marie-José and Jean-Marie Moren
Paradis de statuettes
3 cité de la Dunette
62151 Neufchâtel-Hardelot, dept Pas de Calais, region Hauts-de-France
can be seen from the street (along departmental route D 119)
streetview (showing that in September 2021 the house still was decorated)

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