The house, with its rose façade and green shutters, is simple but beautifully made. Jean-Henri Fabre wanted it to be a warm family home, but above all a studious place.
Fabre spent long hours here in his study, set apart from the rest of the house and its hubbub. The Study is a small natural-history museum in itself, opening onto the garden and devoted to research, study and writing. At the centre of the room are working instruments and an entire panoply of items –a magnifying-glass, a microscope, scales, traps, boxes, bell-glasses, etc.
Against the walls are large fir wood showcases that house the naturalist’s extraordinary collection, comprising 1,300 objects and specimens. There are of course many insects, but also fossils, seashells, birds’ nests, human bones and other objects found in archaeological excavations.
Budding naturalists, come and share the passion of a master!
Finally, at the back of the room, near the fireplace, is the small walnut table on which Fabre wrote the thousands of pages of his Souvenirs entomologiques. This favourite table was moved from one room to another to suit the light or the naturalist’s whim, and has now returned to its place in the study.
Sheltered from the light, the huge herbarium Fabre began at the age of 18 contains a treasury of 82 volumes and 13,500 sheets. This precious record of the region’s flora contains more than 17,000 specimens of plants, mosses and seaweed.
The task of inventory, revision of genera and species, and database entry has been carried out by the Museum. The Herbarium may be viewed only on request and is no longer on display in the Study.
The Museum, in charge of renovation of the Harmas Jean-Henri Fabre since 2000, has also restored the 600 watercolours of mushrooms painted by the master.
The small greenhouse
Adjacent to the study and with an ideal southern exposure, the small greenhouse – which Fabre had built in 1880 – is home to plants that are sensitive to frost, including a collection of pelargoniums and a few exotic species such as citrus, banana, and crassulaceae.