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Arthur Rimbaud House For Sale


On the fringe of the Cabaret Vert Festival, I walked across the Rimbaud and Verlaine’s road between Charlestown (aka Charleville Mézières, Rimbaud’s birthplace) and the Belgian countryside. This itinerary follows the places and scenes where both of them used to live in the 19th century.

I was quite surprised to discover that Arthur Rimbaud’s vacation house was for sale when I arrived in Roche, a very small town near Charleville Mézières. It is in his mother’s family farm that Rimbaud wrote one of his major works. By walking in Roche, we can easily imagine the poet finishing “A Season in Hell” in the attic of the barn in 1873. Opposite are still the washhouse and the washery pond in front of which Rimbaud found refuge to admire the foggy landscape of the Ardennes and found the inspiration for his poems.

But the house you can see in Roche is definitely not the original house of Rimbaud’s family. The farm was bombed by the Germans when they left the village during the World War I. There is nothing left from the family house today, excepted a wall. Instead of the barn, there is just a commemorative stone paying homage to Rimbaud. The house currently on sale was built in the same location after the war.

Nevertheless this real estate could interest many artists, singers and songwriters who had been influenced by the poet, such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Van Morrison, Courtney Love, Pete Doherty, Tom Verlaine and Richard Hell from Television, CocoRosie or Patti Smith for example.

Rimbaud’s poetry was an important influence on singer Patti Smith. She wrote this line in her song Land in 1975 : “And I fill my nose with snow and go Rimbaud / Go Rimbaud!”. Patti Smith also wrote two poems on Rimbaud : Dream of Rimbaud, in her book Witt, and Rimbaud Dead, from Babel. Bob Dylan confessed his love for Rimbaud’s poetry in his autobiography Chronicles : Volume One. He talked about Rimbaud in his song You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go from Blood on the Tracks.

I don’t know the price of this house but if someone is interested to invest in real estate in the North of France, you can buy a little part of Arthur Rimbaud’s inspiring places.

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