Just a short walk from Moulin Bregeon is the small town of Linières-Bouton. Home to 96 people, one low income house, Napoleon’s great, great grandniece, the requisite church and chateau; and…Jonathan Robinson who calls himself an ”aesthetic refugee,” and who is bent on preserving the traditional architecture of France one building at a time.
About six years ago Jonathan purchased most of the buildings in this charming village, which had been abandoned about 20 years before when local residents started moving to larger towns to live, work and shop. He now owns the remains of an old dry goods store, a blacksmith’s shop still crammed with all its original tools, and even a local type of bowling alley, along with several homes. One which houses his art studio.
In Jonathan’s own words:
France represents a biodiversity of beauty. The French really thought about the idea of beauty, with all their senses. You see it in their food, their wine, their architecture, their furniture. They even manipulated their language so it would sound pleasing to the ear. And I see it being erased,” the Boston Globe
So his mission is to restore these fabulous stone buildings and their history in the Loire; utilizing local old world artisans and craftsman, to their original sturdy splendor, while adapting them to modern day life in their use. Jonathan continues to paint daily (his work has been shown in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, from New York to Cologne). And…he and his partners offer weeklong programs at his Moulin, in French language, history of French art and architecture, and cooking and pastry-making. They also have facilities for yoga programs, and offer ”adventure weeks,” which consist of low-calorie organic food and daily hikes. Plus they host weddings and other celebrations for special guests.
Spending time at the Mill or in town, you cannot help but absorb some of Jonathan’s passion for French tradition and culture. To see such passion is definitely a Little Bit of Beauty™, and a visual stimulation for all the senses, especially the eye. I personally am inspired to know more, and to spend more time there and in pursuit of other places which are saving old world culture, art and architecture. All of which inspire my dedication to combining beauty and function in my design work!
What about you? Where do you travel to become creatively inspired? Would you come along on a trip to Linières-Bouton and spend some time exploring this area of the world? Let me know by leaving a comment below…I’ll add your name to our growing list of interested people!