La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy

La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star
in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy

His name is synonymous with success. Lionel Bensemoun is a creator of ambiance and atmosphere, an iconoclast gifted with the ability to imagine and develop emulative concepts. Whether creative (the Villa Lena), festive (Le Baron, La Mano, the Petit Palace, the Isla – Les Embiez festival), gourmet (the Nanashi restaurants) or socially committed and involved (Le Consulat, La Base). his numerous ventures always evoke something in your mind. And if this isn’t the case, see instead. The mischievous renegade has just recently opened La Folie Barbizon just a stone’s throw from the forest of Fontainebleau. A multifaceted venue, standing at the crossroads of his various aspirations, at which you sleep, enrich your knowledge and culture, meet and exchange ideas with others and feast and enjoy yourself. Above all, it’s a personal place, one guided by a thirst for new encounters, “…a thread that runs through all my ventures” writes Lionel, who deep down has just one desire at heart: to share them with others. La Folie Barbizon is conceived as a kind of artists’ residence, with the intention behind it thus being to bring musicians, painters and sculptors together with the curious passing visitors who come to take part in this unique immersive experience. Unless it’s actual hotel guests that is, who have come to spend time fully enjoying what the place has to offer. A philosophy that impregnates each of the spaces. Where furniture items have not actually been made by the residents themselves, the decor and decoration have been largely achieved using things found on second-hand websites. An organic and participative construction process, complete with an excellent menu made up of local, organic and mainly vegetable-based cuisine, which the chef will therefore be changing from season to season. A different way of approaching the “residence” concept, and something of a nod to the original sense of ‘folie’; namely, a pleasure palace built on the outskirts of a town or city by the aristocracy in the 18th century and notable for its architectural eccentricity and the extravagant nature of the use to which it was put… You can verify this for yourself.

La Folie Barbizon, 5, grande rue – 77630 Barbizon.Reservations by phone on +33 (0)1 64 38 54 92 or by email to bonjour@lafoliebarbizon.com. La Folie Barbizon restaurant, open 12:00–2:30 p.m. and 7:30–10:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. La Cabane takeaway, open 12:00–8:00 p.m.

Extérieur La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Extérieur La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Réception La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Escalier Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Salle restaurant La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Salle restaurant La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Salle restaurant La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy

Lionel, could you tell us about the choice of this place one hour from Paris? Why Barbizon and this new hotel project?

Lionel

It’s not exactly very original. A friend sent me an ad by email. I’d never actually been here! When I first came to visit this charming little artists village, and especially on seeing this wonderful forest so close to Paris for the first time, I was completely convinced.

The place has a very family feel about it, as much in the welcome offered as in the decor, which is a very personal blend of styles. What spirit did you want to bring to it?

Lionel

It’s a country retreat, a place where you feel at home! It’s a mix of my own personal items and ornaments together with things I’ve come across while browsing round the local Emmaüs for example. Practically everything is second hand; there’s a real soul to the place! It’s the same with the works produced by our artists. They’re unique pieces created on site. It’s a little through random chance and meetings and encounters that I put things together. It’s what, I think, gives it this original atmosphere.

Artists in residence who get involved with what the guests live and experience, is this your philosophy for each space you create and design?

Lionel

I like meetings and encounters and I like sharing them. It forms the essence of everything I do!

Salon La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy

Is it possible to acquire a piece of artwork for yourself when you stay at La Folie Barbizon?

Lionel

Yes, the artists really are in creative, productive mode! They also play a role in how La Folie Barbizon evolves and develops. This stimulates lots of discussions between them and the guests.

Incidentally, you’ve also taken up sculpture yourself. Could you tell us more about it?

Lionel

I’ve loved creating sand sculptures on the beach. between swims, since I was a small child. This time, I’m having a go with soft stone. It’s an activity that really relaxes me!

What do you find most stimulating about these new projects?

Lionel

Meeting new people! As I said, this is essential if I’m going to get pleasure out of the projects I undertake. It’s very natural and intuitive. A common thread that runs through all the things I do.

La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
Salon La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Salon Restaurant La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Salon Photographie La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
Salon La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy
Artiste Atelier Résidence La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Artiste Atelier Résidence La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Artiste Atelier Résidence La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun

Can you tell us what a typical day at La Folie Barbizon is like, what with bathing in the natural springs and trips to the forest of Fontainebleau?

Lionel

It varies between beautiful walks or bicycle rides through the forest (or even horse rides!), perhaps a little picnic complete with hampers prepared for us by the chef. In the afternoons, depending on how the inspiration takes us, there are pottery, clay modelling or photography workshops with the resident artists. When the weather’s fine, we go swimming and bathing in the rivers nearby; the Loing is simply delightful! You can also opt to go on an excursion to an immense expanse of white sand known as the Cul-du-Chien. Where culture is concerned, there are numerous activities available. For my part, I love going inside the body of the giant Le Cyclop sculpture by Jean Tinguely in the forest of Milly. It’s also possible to visit the studios of Nicolas Lefebvre at the château de Fleury and go vegetable picking at the château de Courances. In the evenings, it’s aperitifs and dinner in the garden. It’s not rare to listen to a musical artist on the guitar or piano before going to bed, a lovely note on which to fall asleep…

Your resident Danish chef, Mads Christensen, is developing a very green feel and spirit across his menu, Can you tell us more?

Lionel

Mads loves cooking with products he’s sourced from farms located around Barbizon. It’s mainly vegetarian food and it’s delicious!

As someone who’s always on the move and doing new things, could you tell us where you see yourself in five years?

Lionel

No one knows! Me included!

Salon La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Atelier Artiste La Folie Barbizon Portrait Lionel Bensemoun
Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun
Chambre Hôtel La Folie Barbizon Lionel Bensemoun La Folie Barbizon, The Latest Star <br>in Lionel Bensemoun’s Galaxy

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