Located in Cassis, a small town of the South of France, facing the Mediterranean Sea, the Foundation offers an exceptional environment to think, reflect, and create. The residency experience is enhanced by the quiet campus and the surrounding natural beauty of Cap Canaille and the Calanques National Park. At the same time, Camargo is only a forty-five minute drive from Marseille, and a short drive from Aix-en-Provence and Arles, which are major centers for art, culture, and research.
In 2018, the French Ministry of Culture designated the Camargo Foundation a Maison des Illustres, recognizing it as a physical and cultural landmark. Today, its buildings and grounds include thirteen apartments, an 400-seat amphitheater, a 5,000-volume reference library, a music-conference hall, a composer’s studio, a visual arts studio, and several indoor and outdoor spaces to host meetings and workshops.
In the 1920s, Winston Churchill and his family stayed at the Hotel Panorama when they visited Cassis. In the late 1960s, it was bought and remodeled by Jerome Hill for his new foundation. Today, Panorama serves as the Camargo Foundation's main building and houses the Foundation's library, a music-conference room, seven apartments, the administrative offices, and a laundry room.
The Camargo Foundation's library includes a reference collection of more than 5,000 titles. The collection is classified according to the Library of Congress system and available via an online, searchable catalog. Private carrels are available for fellows who wish to work in the library.
During the early 1930s, when Jerome Hill was studying painting in Paris, he made frequent sketching trips to Cassis. He finally succumbed to its magic in 1939, when he bought a house on the sea, known as Pierrefroide, and the adjacent land from Madge Oliver, an English painter and painting teacher whose most illustrious student was Winston Churchill. Today, Pierrefroide includes four apartments and an artist's studio.
La Lèque is a building built by Jerome Hill near Pierrefoide in the late 1960s. Today, it contains a composer's studio and an apartment. The beautiful vaulted ceiling and floors of La Lèque are made of bricks and tiles dating from the late eighteenth century. For acoustical reasons, the walls are covered with panels made from a nineteenth-century red velvet theater curtain. This composer's studio is equipped with a Steinway piano and an audio system.
Jerome Hill built his own residence in 1947. He called his house La Batterie because it was located at the entrance of the harbor, right next to a guardhouse built in 1794 for Napoleon Bonaparte when he was a young artillery officer. Bonaparte visited this petit cabanon during an inspection tour of military fortifications in the south of France. The guardhouse was painted by Paul Signac in his famous 1899 painting called The Bay of Cassis, Cap Canaille.
Today, La Batterie is the residence of the Camargo Foundation's Program Director. Project discussions, work-in-progress performances and social events take place in the majestic living room and on the adjacent outdoor patios.
The Garden: the Chinese Terrace and the Amphitheater
The Camargo Foundation is well known for the beauty of its gardens. The Chinese Terrace, named for its Asian-inspired pergola, overlooks the Mediterranean and the port of Cassis. It is a wonderful place to relax, read, chat, or share a meal.
The 400-seat amphitheater is used for concerts, literature festivals, poetry readings, lectures, and other cultural events. In the center of the theater is a seven-pointed star made out of small pebbles from the nearby beach. The star represents the seven famous Provençal poets who called for the renewal of the Occitan language and culture in the nineteenth century. This star inspired the logo of the Camargo Foundation.