Maison Picassiette: A Day Trip From Paris

Ok don’t hate me, but I really don’t like Paris.


But it’s true. After visiting Paris twice in my life, I will commit to saying that it’s near the bottom of my list of favorite places. That isn’t to say that I’m not open to Paris’s allure and charm grabbing me by the arm and dragging me (and a bottle of wine and some cheese) to the most hidden amazing spots full of friendly people and forcing me to love the place– it just hasn’t happened yet.

Eiffel Tower- Paris, France Andalucía Bound Blog

A year-and-a-half ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) I went on a two-week long trip through five countries with one of my best friends and we ended it with five days in Paris. My friend has always loved Paris and I totally see how she fits in there. Never-ending class and effortless beauty are just two ways to describe her persona, and those are both keys to fitting into the Parisian scene. Then there’s me, with a bright yellow zip-up from American Apparel as my only “jacket” and a pair of zebra print sneakers to really class things up.

From the get go I felt out of place in Paris, more like a tourist than I’ve ever felt, and just totally scrubby and underdressed. For five days. There’s no denying that Paris is beautiful. Once glimpse of the sparkling Eiffel Tower can suck you into a romantic fairytale, and the Louvre and surrounding Tuileries Gardens are extremely picturesque. But the complicated streets of the City of Love and it’s absurdly high prices are just a turn off for me. Not to mention the extremely rude shopkeeper I encountered while buying a bottle of wine one evening (I’m personally boycotting the chain Nicolas for the rest of eternity).

Louvre- Paris, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Of my five days in Paris there were a few redeeming factors. One was the adorable hotel we “splurged” on, Hotel de Nesle, one was visiting Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, and one was a day trip from Paris to Maison Picassiette in the cute little town of Chartres. Our lovely friend who spent a year studying in Paris suggested this day trip to us as we had both been to Paris before and wanted to do some new and exciting things and this was definitely a great option.

Hotel de Nesle- Paris, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Our colorful room in Hotel de Nesle

So- what is the Maison Picassiette? Well… its a house. But not just any house. It’s a lovely house covered from foundation to roof in beautiful mosaics. Not one inch of space has been left plain and simple. But I’ll explain more on that later.

Anyway, what should have been a simple train ride to Chartres ended up costing us almost double the normal price due to the fact that the ticket seller misinterpreted our whack pronunciation of Chartres to mean something different. But what’s done is done, and in the end we arrived to Chartres in one piece. We hopped on the local 4 bus (take it towards Le Madeliene) and got off at the Picassiette stop. If I remember correctly, you must cross the street at the nearest intersection (behind you) and walk up Rue de Repos until you arrive at number 22 on the right. It’s a bit hidden but you shouldn’t have a problem finding it.

Tickets to enter cost 5,50€, and a student ticket is 2,70€. Under 18s are free. Unfortunately, this lovely place is closed in the winter from December 1st until March 31.

So… what makes this place so special?

Maison Picassiete- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

I mean… look at it! It’s spectacular! Taking photos is prohibited and since the place is pretty small and they have a girl circling around to prevent sneaky photos, it was a bit difficult to capture how beautiful it was. Luckily I have ninja-like stealthy skills and was able to snap some shots while my friend was quite literally on the look-out behind my back.  I had my big DSLR (less stealthy) and my iPod (less quality) so between the two I got some decent shots, but this place is totally worth it in my opinion.

Here’s the story behind it. It all began with Raymond Isidore back in 1938. He began to decorate the walls inside the home with small pieces of broken glass and plates because he loved the way it looked. He then began covering not only the walls, but floors, ceilings and furniture, as well as the outside of the house and garden.

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Statues in the garden

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Raymond’s “throne” where he would sit and look out at the garden.

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Not just glass pieces!

I was completely blown away by this place! As it turns out, this guy ended up working on his masterpiece for nearly thirty years! And sadly, just two years after he finished, when he was 65,  he passed away. I wish I could have taken more pictures to truly do this amazing little home justice. Mr. Isidore spent almost half of his life putting his heart into decorating the home that he built from scratch and you can truly see how passionate he was and the extreme detail that went into the job.

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

An outdoor patio

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Intricate designs

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Part of the kitchen– stealth shot!

Maison Picassiette- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

Lovely gardens with detailed artistry!

In all, I’d totally recommend Chartres for a day trip from Paris. Maison Picassiette is the perfect little attraction, and afterwards (or before) you can enjoy the charming sites of Chartres. There is a beautiful cathedral and lots of lively squares where you can grab a delicious crepe and enjoy some good people watching.

Cathedral- Chartres, France Andalucía Bound Blog

A silly garbage can and the beautiful cathedral in Chartres


So, have you ever been to Paris? What are you favorite day trips? Should I give Paris another chance? Let me know in the comments!

For more information on Maison Picassiette and visiting Chartres, check out this English-version Chartres tourism site.

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8 thoughts on “Maison Picassiette: A Day Trip From Paris

  1. Yay!! This is still one of my favorite things I did while in France. I wonder why they don’t let people take photos–it’s not like they sell postcards. Maybe they want to keep it a little secret. Who knows?

    Hotel de Nesle is a gem! I’m so glad you guys stayed there. Did you meet the lady who runs it? Did you see the dried flower ceiling??


    • Yeah I thought it was strange too… Some places make you pay an extra fee for taking photos, and I would have here!

      Hotel de Nesle is definitely a gem. We absolutely met the lady who runs it but I think she became wary of us when we asked her for a wine bottle opener our first night. The dried flower ceiling is great! I think I never took a picture. Oops!

      Thanks for the wonderful tips!!


  2. People think I am crazy for not loving Paris either! BUT it was also the last place I visited on a 30 day tour of Europe years ago so I think I was just cranky from traveling so much :p . Now I am willing to give it another try and also hopefully go to Maison Picassiette. It looks so lovely! Thanks for posting =)


    • I’m glad I’m not the only one, Danielle!! I visited Paris in similar circumstances so I’m willing to give it another chance… when I’m rich! Maison Picassiette is beautiful, though… thanks for reading!!


  3. Sorry you didn’t like Paris! I’ve never been to Maison Picassiette (or Chartres actually) but this place seems like a wacky but fun trip. I’ve been to Paris many, many times throughout my life (Dad is French so I have family in France), more so than any American who claims to love or hate Paris. I like Paris a lot, not sure if I’ve ever “loved” it but I’ve come to regard it as NYC–you will never be finished seeing things in Paris, even once you’ve crossed off all the major sites (which I did a long time ago).

    There a few unspoken rules of how to act and how to dress, but now you know what to expect the next time you go. I felt the same way about Vienna too–a city most people rave about but I think I need to visit it when I’m not so exhausted and over traveling.


    • Yeah I think you’re right. If I were living there or spending a lot more time there, I feel like Paris could grow on me because I’d get to see a more real side of it, though I’m not sure I’ll ever be classy enough :p

      I ddin’t get a good feel for Vienna because I was there for just 2 days, over New Year’s Eve so we had a blast on the 31st and did most of out sight seeing on the 1st when there weren’t many people and we were nurisng hangovers.I’d love to go back When it’s not freezing!


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