Birthplace of Paul and Camille Claudel in Fère-en-TardenoisBirthplace of Paul and Camille Claudel in Fère-en-Tardenois
©Birthplace of Paul and Camille Claudel in Fère-en-Tardenois|Maison du Tourisme Les Portes de la Champagne - C. Debout

Paul and Camille Claudel

invite you to their home.

Discover the childhood home of the famous sculptor and her author brother. Their respective works will be marked by their attachment to the Tardenois, their native land.

Paul ClaudelPaul Claudel
©Paul Claudel
Paul Claudel

Born into a family of artists and encouraged by his father to follow this vocation, Paul Claudel remains today an important author of French literature.

A local star...

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A child of the country

Paul Claudel

Paul was born on August 6, 1868, in the former presbytery of Villeneuve, owned by his mother and the place where the Claudels lived until it was sold back to the commune in 1872. However, Paul and Camille will always remain attached to Villeneuve and will make frequent visits to their maternal grandfather who lived in the house opposite the presbytery.

Situated in the heart of a serene environment, bordered by the forest and vineyards, the place was predestined for Paul, who will become a great dreamer, lover of nature and words.

Paul is the first model of his sister, the sculptor Camille Claudel, to whom he is very close. She depicts him as a child at thirteen, then at sixteen, as a young Roman, at twenty and finally at thirty-seven. This sculpture is on display at the Maison Natale de Camille et Paul Claudel.

As an adventurous little boy, Paul enjoyed surveying the landscapes that border this house. His imagination is also fueled by the Hottée du Diable, close to his birthplace and a veritable playground for him and his sisters. At a very young age, he develops a taste for Greek literature and writings as he annotates his school books with them.


International recognition

As a studious student, he found it difficult to adapt to the atmosphere of the city when his family moved to Paris in 1881. His need for freedom and emancipation was reinforced. He dreamed of traveling the world and embraced the diplomatic career while pursuing his literary career.

He wrote numerous plays, poetry and literary essays.

His art was enriched by his stays abroad in his posts as consul, then ambassador whether in China, Japan, New York, Brazil and Europe.


The Tardenois in the heart

However, his travels will not make him forget his native land, the Tardenois, a land to which he remains deeply attached. Its landscapes, its villages and its legends are found everywhere in his work. We can notably cite his play L’annonce faite à Marie, which is anchored in this place he loves so much.

Despite his talent and his love for literature, Paul Claudel refuses to live off his artistic side, which is why he becomes a diplomat, ensuring himself a fixed income. The downfall of several artists and especially his sister, will traumatize him.


A faithful brother

While Paul, after a sentimental drama founded a family, (he would have five children), Camille struggled with loneliness after her separation from Rodin, financial difficulties, illness.

In 1913, on medical advice she was committed to a psychiatric hospital until her death. However and despite the confinement of his sister, Paul will always remain close and faithful to her. One often finds, hidden somewhere, the shadow of Camille in his writings.