The Harmas Jean-Henri Fabre
Open all year round
The dream of every naturalist? To live in an open-air laboratory, as close as possible to his or her object of study: fauna and flora. Jean-Henri Fabre fulfilled this dream in 1879, when he acquired the Harmas which today bears his name. Would you like to visit?
This one hectare estate is located in the village of Sérignan du Comtat, 30 km from Avignon. It still includes a farmhouse and a piece of fallow land: "l'harmas", in Provençal. In Jean-Henri Fabre's open-air laboratory, indulge in what was the famous entomologist's favourite activity: observation. Discover this plot of wild grass where he placed devices born of his imagination to study or capture small fauna...
At the end of the lane
Surrounded by a wall more than 2 metres high, the property is organised as it was in the 19th century. You will enter through the "postman's gate" used daily by Jean-Henri Fabre to go herb collecting in the surrounding countryside. After visiting the house, continue to the garden. Here you will find some 500 species, varieties of shrubs and Mediterranean plants chosen by Fabre and his successors. There is also a pond, with two fountains, restored by the naturalist to attract aquatic fauna, dragonflies and midwife toads! Looking around, admire the large Banks' rose, the forsythias and photinias, the marigolds and lilies, as well as a collection of typically Mediterranean plants such as asphodel and santolina. Further on, the atmosphere gets more exotic in front of a cluster of bamboos and other plants from the five continents.
Small squares and large trunks
The orchard and vegetable garden, a faithful reconstruction of a Provençal food garden from the past, is also worth a visit. It contains squares of aromatic and medicinal plants, as well as ancient vegetables. You can also make a detour to the arboretum, with its holm and kermes oaks, Aleppo pines, pistachio trees, fig trees, wig trees and bay trees. Trees from far away also make an appearance, including the Atlas cedar and the pencil tree, known for its dense wood and characteristic smell.
Fabre at home
In the naturalist's home, which is simple and beautifully designed, the entire life of the scientist is evoked. Take a look at the dining room, where every object is still in place: the table used for meals shared with his wife and children, the glazed bookcase, the piano and harmonium on which Fabre composed the music for his Provençal poems, family photos and knick-knacks. Set apart from the living rooms, the study is just as moving. The scientist used to do his research and writing here. How can we not imagine him sitting at this desk, writing the thousands of pages of his work, including the Entomological Memories published worldwide?
Before you leave, take a look at the 1,300 items in the collection here. Don't miss two letters from Darwin to Fabre, or the herbarium that the entomologist began to compile at the age of 18! The inventory and computer entry of its 82 bundles, grouping together 14,000 specimens, were carried out by the Museum. The Museum, which has been renovating the Harmas de Fabre since 2000, has also restored the 600 watercolours of mushrooms painted by the former owner. Budding naturalists, come and share the passion of a master!
How to find us
445 Route d'Orange
445 Route d'Orange