James Baldwin’s Former French Home to be Demolished, Replaced with Apartment Complex

November 29, 2017

Baldwin's House, a small cottage with trees on either side and a large stretch of grass with a stone sidewalk in front.

James Baldwin’s small home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France is soon to be demolished and replaced with a luxury apartment complex in June of 2019, reported the New York Times yesterday. Baldwin, one of the most revered American authors and thinkers of the 20th century, moved to the French village in 1970, after frequently moving between the United States, France, Turkey, and Switzerland for nearly 30 years. During his time at the home he finished the novel If Beale Street Could Talk, among other works.

A campaign to save the property, led by French-residing, American novelist Shannon Cain, failed to raise the roughly $9.5 million needed to buy the property back from the apartment developers. The campaign also has upset several members of the Baldwin family. “We don’t know who she is, and this organization is not legit,” commented Aisha Karefa-Smart, Baldwin’s niece and the daughter of the sole executor of Baldwin’s estate, Gloria Karefa-Smart.

The apartment development, called Le Jardin des Arts, will begin construction soon, according to property developer Socri.


Photo credit: Rebecca Marshall, The New York Times

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