The village of Illiers, where Marcel Proust spent part of his youth, inspired him to write about ‘Combray’, as part of the French novel ‘A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’. The village and the work of the writer being eternally connected, the town of Illiers was rebaptised Illiers-Combray.
By walking around the town, readers of Proust will recognise the places described in his novel Swann’s way (Du côté de chez Swann). The Maison de Tante Léonie is now a museum dedicated to the author. The setting of the 20th century has been preserved.
Not far from there, the Pré Catelan is a tropical garden drawn by Marcel Proust’s uncle. It can be found in his novels under the name of ‘Parc de Tansonville’. No need, however, to have read Proust to appreciate the charm of this little town. You might want to plunge into the work of one of the best known writers of the 20th century though, after having visited Illiers-Combray.