Until he was thirteen years old, Guy de Maupassant lived with his mother in Etretat (in Le Grand Val where his mother owned an orchard).
In 1883, at the age of 33, with his first literary success (the short story, “The Telleir House”), Guy de Maupassant returned to Etretat to fulfill his long-standing desire to build a house there. Maupassant’s mother gave him her orchard in Le Grand Val (now rue Guy de Maupassant) ; Maupassant then bought a piece of land next to it and built his little house “La Guillette” complete with a first-floor balcony.
When part of the house was lost to fire, Maupassant built a larger house, this time adding a billiards room, and covering the balcony on the north side (he kept the original shutters). Nostalgic for the south of France wher he often spent the winter, Maupassant had the house built in the mediterranean style, with toughwalls and a tile roof. The carpenter, Monsieur de Peyrant, made the remarkable panellings and antique cupboards of the main corridor.
In October 1884, well settled into La Guillette, Maupassant finished writing “Bel Ami”.
The house is set back away from the road. The enclosed garden, designed by Mr Gramoizan, has kept his original shape, with a corridor of trees, a shooting range, and the orchards.
Maupassant also had a caloge built (an upside-down boathouse complete with bathroom) which was used by his manservant, François Tassard, as accomodations.
Maupassant liked to have guests stay over, and the house still has 4 rooms on the first floor. All the fireplaces are original. The living-room fireplace on the ground-floor is made out of blue ceramic ; Maupassant brought it back with him from Vallauris to Etretat.
Other genuine antiques in the house include two paintings of Maupassant’s cousin on the doors of the office, as well as a stained-glass window (designed by Oudinot in 1883).