Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paddy Leigh Fermor's House

One of the things that always impressed me about Paddy Leigh Fermor was where he chose to live in Greece. Not only was the setting spectacular (Kalamitsi Bay just south of the lovely village of Kardamyli in the southern Peloponnese), but Paddy also built himself what must be one of the most simple but lovely houses in existence. I ended up living just above the bay and the occasional invite to walk down the path to the house for a drink was always a delight. 

Kardamyli Cafe Life

When Paddy died there was some confusion as to what would be happening to the house (he had no children or obvious heirs). It was known that he intended to donate it to the Benaki Museum, a Greek philanthropic organisation, but their exact intentions were, and are, unclear. The general talk was of some sort of artists' retreat. 

One of my plans, on my current trip to the area, had been to see if I could find out more. Well, there’s some interesting, if a bit bizarre news. I recently spent a night at the Costa Navarino, an extremely swish resort in nearby Messinia (near Homer’s ‘sandy Pylos’ if you’re classically inclined). A fellow guest turned out to be the American actor Ethan Hawke, who is apparently filming a Greek / American produced film in the area. Julie Delpy's name has also been mentioned and this could be a sequel in the Before Sunrise series. Much of this is wild speculation, but what is certain is that Ethan Hawke is involved, and that Paddy’s house is being used as a location.

Yesterday I drove round the bay and there was a big marquee in the house’s garden and the dirt road down to it had been marked with signs saying ‘B M LOC’ (Benaki Museum Location?). What is going on is shrouded in secrecy, but I already have a spy on set, and will do my best to find out more.

Two quick hopes: firstly god forbid they do anything to damage the property (I’m sure this is being managed); and secondly I hope the Benaki Museum is getting a nice wad of cash for this that they will funnel back into the house.


  1. Thanks for this. Keep inquiring.

  2. We are here in Kardamily and just saw Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy outside the supermarket across from where we are staying. My husband, an admirer of Fermor's work took a walk in hopes of seeing his house a few days ago and was stopped by a production assistant. Now there are no parking announcements posted with warning tape near the supermarket. I suppose there will be filming here in town, all very exciting but more exciting would have been seeing Fermor's residence.