Born in the north of England, of English and German ancestry, Ursula Benjamin has travelled extensively and has lived many different lives, including a busy one as an author of philosophical essays. She had heard of the Robert-Tatin Museum, one of the most interesting artistic centres in the West of France and came to visit.

When I arrived in Mayenne, I fell in love with the countryside and the people. For me, there’s something mystical about the landscape and the connection that people here have with the land, whether planting crops, keeping chickens or bees, or cooking the best local produce.” She discovered Fontaine-Daniel while working on the French translation of one of her works: “It was a revelation. I immediately felt a connection to my birthplace in Yorkshire, in the north of England.”


Ursula Benjamin Artspace GîtesUrsula Benjamin Artspace Gîtes
©Ursula Benjamin Artspace Gîtes
Ursula Benjamin

“As a creative person, I have always felt a connection to artistic communities. The idea of a residency open to artists and authors stems from my desire to create an artistic community with workshops, exhibitions and shows where everyone is welcome. ArtSpace Gîtes is open all year round, with a welcoming fire in winter - wonderful and comfortable! In summer, the large bright windows bring the outside and inside into harmony. "

Ursula loves
  • Writing
  • Making videos of artists
  • Cooking for her friends

Estampille Slowlydays


Everything – the dimensions of the buildings, the old fabric workshop – it all brought a feeling of belonging to me, everything I discovered seemed familiar. When I found out that the name of the building was “La Source,” I realised I’d come home!

The famous Toiles de Mayenne is a fabric manufacturer with outlets all over France. In the small town of Fontaine-Daniel where they are made are a chapel and a pond, and a peaceful monastery in the forest: if you stay in one of the ArtSpace Gîtes, you’ll succumb to the charm of the village with its rich history, the philosophy that guided its creation and its unique architecture: “I like to surprise visitors with all the secrets of the“ hidden spaces” to be found here.”





Take a walk to the chapel, sit down and admire the lake. Take a walk in the family gardens or in the forest. Go see the nuns in their wimpoles at Bois Salair. Enjoy a drink and a local cheese at the organic grocery store or have a coffee in its bookstore corner. Sit in the garden of the bakery and savour the homemade pastries and chocolates. Take your time, read, draw, paint, live the country life of the artist… This is what we’re all about at Fontaine-Daniel.”

Whether you are an artist or not (and you’ll become one after a stay at ArtSpace Gîtes), an inspiring break awaits you!



A word from



I chose Fontaine-Daniel for its peaceful atmosphere, its social life and its long history. The local community is very involved in environmentalism too.

I am committed to:

  • using local businesses. For the renovation of the gite, I chose a craftsman with long experience in renovating traditional buildings – all the furniture is restored. The fabrics are made in the village by Toiles de Mayenne.
  • making my gite a welcoming place for artists from all over the world, allowing thmem to find inspiration. Our walls are their free gallery and I make videos of the artists at work to support them.
  • introducing my guests to the village of Fontaine-Daniel, by offering them a guided tour.


Where to meet


Ursula's favourite place in


Fontaine-Daniel obviously. I also like walking along the Mayenne river and having lunch at the restaurant “La Carotte” on the quays in Mayenne, the nearby town.