A documentary film crew prepares for a scene in the kitchen at Petite Plaisance, the home of the late writer Marguerite Yourcenar, in Northeast Harbor. PHOTO COURTESY OF IMAGE CRÉATION

Estate featured in film

MOUNT DESERT — A French film production crew spent part of last week shooting scenes for a documentary at Petite Plaisance, the Northeast Harbor home of the late writer Marguerite Yourcenar.

The documentary is based on Yourcenar’s 1968 novel, “The Abyss,” which she wrote at Petite Plaisance.

The film features readings by acclaimed French actress Marie-Christine Barrault, who is one of only seven actresses to have received an Academy Award nomination for a French language performance. The others include such luminaries as Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert.

Yourcenar and her partner, Grace Frick, first visited Mount Desert Island in 1942. They returned every summer and, in 1950, bought Petite Plaisance where, the following year, Yourcenar completed her best-known novel, “Memoirs of Hadrian.” The estate is owned and maintained by the nonprofit Petite Plaisance Conservation Fund.

In 1981, she became the first women to be inducted into the Academie Francaise, the prestigious literary academy established in 1635.

Petite Plaisance is a pleasant, unpretentious white house on South Shore Road. But it has something in common with the homes of Napoleon, Joan of Arc, Claude Monet, Marie Curie and Albert Schweitzer. In 2014, it was added to the French Ministry of Culture’s registry of Maisons des Illustres (Illustrious Houses).

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the organization that owns the estate. Petite Plaisance is owned by the Petite Plaisance Trust, following the wishes expressed in Marguerite Yourcenar’s will. The Conservation Fund was established in 2012 to help maintain the house and gardens. The Islander apologizes for the error.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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