Having landed in Paris, I stroll through the vibrant 6th arrondissement towards the atelier of Candida Romero – artist, restoration expert, convent owner and creator of the fragrance Eau de Couvent. Once there, surrounded by huge artworks, I drink coffee with this inspiring artist and entrepreneur, curious to know more about what has become her mission: ‘Couvent San Francescu’. By restoring the ruins of this enormous convent on the French island of Corsica, Candida has created an extraordinary destination for art and culture aficionados. She enthuses: “I restored the convent with all my heart, and now I am ready to start sharing it with like-minded people. I believe that, together, we can create more beautiful things and develop projects that change the way we see things. Everything I stand for converges in the concept I have devised for the convent. In short: The beauty of the soul.”
‘I want San Francescu Convent to become a sanctuary for artists, musicians, actors, dancers and creative minds from all over the world’ – Candida Romero
GROWING UP IN THE BEEHIVE
Tell us a little about your background…
I have a rather unusual background – mostly thanks to my parents, who were both artists, and the upbringing and values they gave me. My father is American but comes from Puerto Rico and is a borrinque (Indian Carribe/Taïno) . My mother is a Parisian with roots from Gasconny the southwest of France and is a bourgeoise.
You also grew up in a rather extraordinary place…
Yes, La Ruche, an artists’ residence in the Montparnasse district, which is still in existence today. ‘The Beehive’, as it’s known in English, was originally built as a temporary wine rotunda for the Exposition Universelle of 1900. But it ended up becoming a haven for some of the great 20th-century artists: Marc Chagall, Chaim Soutine, Brancusi,Fernand Léger, Brancusi, the poets Blaise Cendrars (there is a poeme he wrote called La Ruche) and Max Jacob– to name but a few – either lived or worked there. It was an incredible place to grow up in, amongst all these artists and free spirits. That explains my bohemian nature. I’m sure that my youth in La Ruche inspired me to develop the community concept that I’m now creating in the Convent.
THE ARTIST ON A MISSION
You do so many different things. Is there a common thread between them all?
Yes, it’s actually very clear to me. In the deepest depths of my soul, I’m an artist. Everything I do is an expression of who I am: I live and breathe art. And because I’m a free spirit who isn’t constrained by conventions, I encounter opportunities in life. Everything comes naturally…
Tell us more about your art…
Art is like religion to me. It also needs an environment that is calm and peaceful. And from within that space, I create what I call ‘love stories’. They are based on things that have either happened to me, that I’ve been told about by someone close, or that I’ve read. Creativity is everything. It keeps you alive. It saves you from being sick – or sad. And it stops you from falling into despair.
Read more about Candida’s vision on ‘Couvent San Francescu’.
Tags: Meeting Candida Romero, Patron of the Arts, Candida Romero, Candida, Couvent San Francescu, founder eaudecouvent, eaudecouvent, CoolBrands People, CoolBrands Women, #CoolBrandsPeople, #CoolBrandsWomen, #CandidaRomero
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