Harmas de Fabre
Open all year round
Every naturalist's dream? To live in an open-air laboratory, as close as possible to one's subject of study: fauna and flora. In 1879, Jean-Henri Fabre achieved this dream when he acquired the Harmas, which now bears his name. Ready for a visit?
Surrounded by an old wall, the property still bears the stamp of the 19th century. You enter through a small gate, known as the "postman's gate", which was once used by the whole household. When J.-H. Fabre arrived, this one-hectare estate, located in the village of Sérignan-du-Comtat, 30 km from Avignon, consisted of a farmhouse as well as fallow land, harmas in Provençal, which he used for his field observations. As an entomologist and botanist, he was tireless in his study of the flora and the habits of countless insects. Since then, the house with its pink façade and green shutters, nestled in the heart of Mediterranean vegetation, has retained all its charm. Since acquiring it in 1922, the Museum has endeavoured to preserve its unique atmosphere.
Completely redesigned, the visit takes you through the house and garden, complete with a soundscape featuring recollections and quotations from the naturalist. Bask in the magic of the place!
An illustrious house
Three historic rooms offer you a glimpse into the naturalist's private life, thanks to the care taken with the décor, furniture, heritage objects and lighting. Here you are in the dining room where, as a musician in his spare time, he would sit at the harmonium and invite close friends to his table. Upstairs in the wing that he had built is his study, which, isolated from the living quarters, is just as moving. The collections displayed in the showcases testify to his insatiable curiosity. It's hard not to imagine him sitting at this desk, working out his hypotheses about plants and insects and penning the famous volumes of his Souvenirs Entomologiques.
A prolific body of work
Learn more about this versatile genius in three newly designed rooms. Discover J.-H. Fabre’s artistic practice in the service of science, with a selection of sheets and drawings from an incredible herbarium comprising 82 bundles and a collection of over 650 watercolours of mushrooms. Take the time to pore over Fabre's correspondence with the great scientists of his time, including Charles Darwin to name but one, but also his writings as a poet, a writer and a teacher. He taught and wrote some hundred school textbooks and popular works, but his most remarkable written work is certainly his ten-volume Souvenirs Entomologiques. Finally, the legacy of the naturalist can be seen and heard through interviews with scientists and the screening of the film Évolution de la Cigale, which he shot with his son.
A home garden
J.-H. Fabre excelled at the art of the pleasure garden, all the while welcoming biodiversity. Thousands of plants, selected by the Museum's teams on the basis of Fabre’s writings, now enrich the magnificent flowerbeds. By the pond or by the fountain on the terrace, soak up the beauty of this Provençal setting, where life was as good as it gets. A stroll through the orchard and kitchen garden is instructive. Here, local fruit trees are grown alongside food crops and aromatic plants. Are you able to identify them?
The savant's fallow
The visit continues in the harmas of perennials, which resembles garrigue scrubland, and where the Museum's gardeners have favoured the introduction of species that are popular with insects, such as thyme, rosemary and Coronilla. Next, enter the harmas of holm and kermes oaks, Aleppo pines, terebinths, fig trees, smoke trees and bay laurel. Other trees from far and wide also make an appearance, including the Atlas cedar and the California incense cedar, known for its dense wood and distinctive scent.
Have you spotted the intriguing, ingenious devices throughout the garden? The brainchild of J.-H. Fabre, they were designed to study small fauna and encourage young and old alike to indulge in the famous entomologist's favourite activity: observation!
A place for conviviality
There are books to be consulted beneath the staircase in the hall, step-by-step drawing blocks inspired by J.-H. Fabre's research in the projection room, and visitors can take a break on one or other of the terraces to listen to poetry or discover more about the Vaucluse department of France... a number of welcoming spaces invite visitors to contemplate and explore the surrounding area or enjoy a visit with the family.
How to find us
445 Route d'Orange
445 Route d'Orange