The story of La Chapelle is indeed a love story - or rather the story of several loves - each enveloping the next one - like Russian dolls which are discovered one after another - all entangled within a larger one. In this way the biggest story - or perhaps the first - is that of my parents, who met in April 1985 during an ordinary university party and decided three months later to travel to Turkey together. They packed two sleeping bags - a tent - a stove - coffee - cans and whatever else they could fit into the trunk of a Renault 5. That summer they never saw the Bosphorus. My mother’s father, Joseph, was visiting Athens at this time and invited my parents to meet him there. It was in that way that my father and grandfather met for the first time – in Greece. Joseph couldn’t afford very much. So the «hotel», as it turns out, was actually a whorehouse where he had booked two nights near the Plaka market. Neither the filth of the rooms, nor the moans of the guests could stop my parents from falling in love with each other, with Athens and with Greece.
They spent the following weeks travelling around the country - from Meteors to Cape Sounion - from Kokkino Nero to Kalamata - from Corfu to Naxos... They could not imagine that thirty-two years later they would return to this island with their three children - my two sisters and I - and that they would fall under the spell of an old ruined house hidden behind the unruly vegetation of an abandoned garden at the entrance of the Kastro of Chora.Soon they meet Father Georgios Palamaris - a young priest who - noticing their love for the old stone - made them discover the imposing patrimony of the Church that he is in charge of maintaining and renovating.
This is how - one winter evening - my parents found themselves on a huge terrace facing the Agios Antonios Chapel and the Monastery which adjoins it. The place is unique - full of a singular atmosphere -dense and welcoming. They both felt it. It is an intuition difficult to describe or to express - a bit like the one they felt for each other when they first met - and a bit like the one they had when they passed this abandoned garden and ruined house. For several weeks La Chapelle is the object of their thoughts.Their intuition turns into an idea: to rehabilitate this place to make it available for artists. That was in January 2021. In July 2021 - my parents - my sisters and I welcomed the first resident of La Chapelle Saint-Antoine - Marusya Borisova Sevastyanova - a Russian painter...