Wings and roots (7): they left the Parisian artistic community to settle in Issoudun

The first time François Riou and Christine Pelletreau heard of Issoudun was through an artist friend. Installed near the capital, in a workshop in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), they have always been immersed in artistic circles, him visual artist and she, in particular, a writer.

But fourteen years ago, François Riou and Christine Pelletreau decided to leave the « 21e arrondissement » from Paris to settle in Berry. They are then looking for a large house that can accommodate the artist’s studio, while remaining financially accessible.

“A lack of appetite for art”

“Initially, we searched 100 km around Parisexplains François Riou. Then the circle gradually widened. » One day, the couple came across a real estate ad in Issoudun: a large house in the city center allowing the visual artist to install his works and create. It is then the blow of heart. “We saw a picture of the house that showed the banana tree in the yardrecalls Christine Pelletreau. One thing leading to another, we settled here. »

The proximity to the capital, where part of the writer’s family still lives, and the presence of the Saint-Roch museum, reassured them in their choice of Issoldunois.

But between the Parisian artistic life and Berry, the gap is important and sometimes turns out to be heavy. Especially for François Riou who regrets here a lack of consideration for art. “Going from Montreuil to Issoudun, I was surprised by this lack of appetite for art. There are cultural places, but they are not very crowded. »

A quiet life

An idea that Christine Pelletreau does not entirely share. Without regretting her Parisian life, the writer relativizes her installation in Berry, calmer and which contrasts with her past.

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Before devoting herself to writing, she was notably a journalist and screenwriter, while traveling to the four corners of the world: Amazonian forest, bus trip to Morocco, discovery of Hong Kong… “Here, we have a cinema not far away, a museum, a theatre, The music Box, the Festival guitars, sports equipment… There is nevertheless a cultural life and proposals. »

But that does not satisfy François Riou, who regrets the artistic fervor of his Montreuil studio. “Not knowing the province, I imagined that anything could happen anywhere. However, on an artistic, cultural and intellectual level, there is no middle ground here”, notes the plastic surgeon. “But it’s difficult to make comparisons between Issoudun in 2023 and Montreuil in the 2010s”tempers the writer.

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