Gargilesse-Dampierre might be described as one of France’s romantic villages. On a steep hill bathed in lush vegetation, overlooking a running brook, I wasn’t surprised to learn that it is the home of more than a few notable artists. The French novelist George Sand, a pseudonym for the writer Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, lived here and you can visit her home, “two small bleached rooms with lime, ceiled out of rough wood, furnished with beds of wild cherry tree and large chairs braided with straw.” A lovely hotel at the top of the village bears her name.
There’s an old church here and a small castle, which was under renovation when we arrived, and it’s a quiet village. Everywhere we turned there were sculptures displayed on lawns and in gardens, and if I were a painter or a writer of fiction there’s something to consider in Gargilesse-Dampierre. It’s a place to escape to and this fits the reclusive personality of the leading French character in our film. The houses here are storybook and the few streets wind up and down through the village. Gargilesse-Dampierre is a charm, and it would lend a quality to our movie that few other villages we visited possess. The last photo I took was of two young boys playing in the brook, which perfectly defined the serenity of this sleepy hamlet.