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Slideshow France

Vacances en France!
Welcome to the third in our series of country specials – designed to help you make the most of a week(end) away. With Germany and The Netherlands covered, we continue our journey to France, where 13 modern house museum are ready to welcome you! How about visiting a pure Alvar Aalto in mint condition, near Paris? And of course you'll find Le Corbusier's Unesco-listed Villa Savoye among our member houses, along with the less famous, self-built retreat of Jean Prouvé in Nancy. We’ve arranged the houses here chronologically, from youngest to oldest. Even if you decide to have a staycation this summer, you can still travel the houses from home.

Plan your visits well in advance, as house museums and especially private houses can have irregular visiting times. Also, coronavirus regulations often require online reservation.
Maison Bernard, Antti Lovag, Théoule-sur-Mer, 1970s
Originally designed as a family residence, Maison Bernard is a much-admired example of organic architecture. Antti Lovag created the house by assembling spherical spaces which adapt to the surrounding area by integrating with the natural environment – going beyond strict rational necessities towards a new vision of home.
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Maison Louis Carré, Alvar Aalto, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne 1959-1963
Built for a wealthy Parisian art dealer, Maison Louis Carré  is located in the village of Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, some 40 km south-west of Paris. This masterpiece of modern architecture, combining buildings, garden, furniture and interior design in a total work of art, is Aalto's only surviving building in France.
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Maison Jean Prouvé, Jean Prouvé, Nancy, 1954
Built in 1954, Jean Prouvé's family home is located in a residential area on one of the hills dominating Nancy. Demonstrating the simplicity and lightness of Jean Prouvé's architectural style, it was built in a single summer by the architect and a couple of family friends, using prefabricated materials. Below the house is a pavilion, Jean Prouvé's office.
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Le Cabanon, Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, 1952
Le Corbusier's tiny seaside holiday cabin, Le Cabanon, on the Côte d'Azur in France, was where the architect spent every August for 18 years. Built in 1951 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the Cabanon looks like a log cabin from the outside. Inside, it was carefully designed on modular principles and made from prefabricated elements.
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Villa Cavrois, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Croix, 1932
This family home is a total work of art by Robert Mallet-Stevens. Based on a classical internal organisation with separate wings for the parents, children and servants, this house is nevertheless a manifesto for modernist architecture with its strong attention to light, large rooms and rational volumes. Acquired by the French nation in 2001, Villa Cavrois has undergone an exemplary restoration to its former glory.
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Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier, Poissy, 1931
Villa Savoye, a modernist villa in Poissy, on the outskirts of Paris, was designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret. A manifesto of Le Corbusier's ideas about new architecture, the villa is one of the most easily recognisable examples of the International Style. In 2016, Unesco added 17 projects by Le Corbusier to its list of internationally significant architecture sites, including Villa Savoye and its gardener’s lodge.
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Van Doesburg's studio house, Theo van Doesburg, Meudon, 1930
De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) designed this studio house in the late 1920s for himself and his wife Nelly van Moorsel. Unfortunately, he died (aged only 47) before the house was finished. On the outskirts of Paris, the house represents Van Doesburg’s view on the synthesis of the arts and his ambition to unite society, industry and science.
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Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray, Roquebrune Cap-Martin, 1926-1929
Eileen Gray's first building, this villa is essentially a white rectangle perched upon the Cap-Martin cliff face, with concrete piles, open plan rooms, a roof garden, horizontal windows and a 'free' facade - a modernist icon. However, the house's interior is even more important, and testifies to Gray's talent as a designer and the thought and attention that she put into every detail.
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Ateliers-musée Chana Orloff, Paris, 1926
The complete oeuvre of Chana Orloff, one of the great sculptors of the 20th century, is presented in her house-studio designed in 1926 by architect Auguste Perret. Orloff was a self-taught artist and occupies a unique place in art history. A visit to the workshop reveals busts of famous people of her time including Pierre Chareau and Anaïs Nin, as well as her work on many themes.
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Quartiers Modernes Frugès, Le Corbusier, Pessac, 1924-1926
In the city of Pessac near Bordeaux, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret built the Quartiers Modernes Frugès on the garden city model, using the advantages of standard housing to create homes that are similar yet varied. This urban utopia rises to the challenge of good housing for the many, and can be considered as a revolution in terms of construction and aesthetics, as well as comfort and social progress.
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Les Colombières, Ferdinand Bac, Menton, 1924
Les Colombières (The Dovecotes)  is a villa in Menton on the French Riviera. The extensions of the original house and gardens were designed and supervised by caricaturist, illustrator, author and designer Ferdinand Bac between 1920 and 1924. Bac also designed furniture and fittings for the house and personally painted all the villa's frescos and paintings. The interlinked gardens were created around mythological themes.
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Villa Noailles, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Hyères, 1923-1932
Villa Noailles is one of the first modernist buildings constructed in France. Designed in December 1923 and inhabited from January 1925, the original villa was built for Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles by the architect Rob Mallet-Stevens and exhibits the founding tenets of the rationalist movement. Later extensions and the courtyard and gardens turned a modest holiday home into a 1800m2 ocean liner.
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Villa Majorelle, Henri Sauvage, Nancy 1901-1902
The Parisian architect Henri Sauvage designed the house of Nancean cabinet-maker Louis Majorelle as a manifesto for a new type of architecture, in which comfort, harmony of volumes and a rational distribution are the leading ideas. Sauvage asked other artists to contribute to the outer and inner decoration, making Villa Majorelle the first example of the principle of the unity of arts.
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The Iconic Houses Foundation, like many small businesses and non-profits, is in a precarious position due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Please donate to help us stabilize operations and recover from this crisis.
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ICON FOR SALE - Villa Henny, Robert van 't Hoff, Huis ter Heide, 1918
Villa Henny is an icon of 20th-century Dutch architecture, and 100 years after it was built, the concrete design is still as solid as a rock. When the current owners saw the ‘For Sale’ sign in the garden in 1979, they were sold, and so was the house! After raising their children here and spending 40 happy years in this special place, they are putting the house up for sale - so a new owner will get the chance to live in this architectural gem!
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