The Prieuré

The Prieuré is the short name for “Le Prieuré des Basses Loges” in “Ville d´Avon” near Fontainebleau (or just Fontainebleu-Avon). The entrance to the Prieuré is on Rue Bezout, almost at the edge of Avon.

In August 1921 and 1922, Gurdjieff travelled around western Europe, lecturing and giving demonstrations of his work in various cities, such as Berlin and London. He attracted the allegiance of Ouspensky and many prominent pupils,

Gurdjieff established the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man south of Paris at the Prieuré des Basses Loges in Avon near the famous Château de Fontainebleau. The once-impressive but somewhat crumbling mansion set in extensive grounds housed an entourage of several dozen, including some of Gurdjieff’s remaining relatives and some White Russian refugees.

Pupils included C. S. Nott, René Zuber, Thomas de Hartmann, Oscar Ichazo, Margaret Anderson, Fritz Peters… The generally intellectual and middle-class types who were attracted to Gurdjieff’s teaching often found the Prieuré’s spartan accommodation and emphasis on hard labour in the grounds disconcerting.

Gurdjieff was putting into practice his teaching that people need to develop physically, emotionally and intellectually, hence the mixture of lectures, music, dance, and manual work. Older pupils noticed how the Prieuré teaching differed from the complex metaphysical “system” that had been taught in Russia. In addition to the physical hardships, his personal behaviour towards pupils could be ferocious.

The Prieuré is currently owned by a nursing home for elderly and ill people. We had been warned that the director of the nursing home hates Gurdjieff, and that you would not be welcome there. The building is totally renovated and occupied by tenants who rent apartments there. The gate to the building had a sign on it that said there where still aparments available. Although they did a great job on the renovation, it is strange that people who live there probably don’t have the faintest idea about the place history related to Gurdjieff.

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