Brigitte et Patrick Baronnet - From Paris to French rurality, pioneers of self-sufficiency

La Maison Autonome - France

Brigitte and Patrick Baronnet welcome us in their 3E house for the « A place to live, a life project”. 3E stands for mutual assistance, ecological and economical. Life project because we will quickly learn that housing is much more than it first appears. The framework is set and instantly raises questions about one’s personal values, one’s commitments, one’s will and motivations. As a great breathe of air opening all the hatches, the heterogeneous crowd of the day’s visitors dive unified into a great discovery adventure.Initially working as teachers, the Eureka moment for change of Brigitte and Patrick occurs short after the events of 1968 in France. Already the absurdity of the modern society is visible to them. “A simple extrapolation of the curves for pollution, violence, congestion indicated us that this [urban] life was not the future.” Some books carry them along this awareness, Lanza del Vasto, Gandhi, Schumacher, Illitch,… Ecologists before their time, isolated with their realization, they join the network of the Friends of the Earth to grow together and not be alone anymore.

The Baronnet family leaves Paris in 72 to set up in a rural area in Chateaubriand.Integration into their new environment goes smoothly. Brigitte plays with great talent the harp and the couple joins the Celtic circle of the area. “Integration went well, we danced, we sang and we played music together.” Actively engaged, they start there branches for several associations or networks or movements that are dear to their hearts, for peace, for well-being, for meaning, for mutual assistance and solidarity with the feeling “of being responsible to do something, that the current way of living could not go on like this.”No matter. With a strong motivation, they decide invent an other way of living outside the massively destructive actual system. It is a duty that pushes them relentlessly towards innovation. “You need common sense, some nerve, some thinking and a lot of courage, energy and perseverance.” The ingredients are there, obstacles are removed progressively and happy coincidences multiply, synchronicities, that raise the question of the power of a positive will and the portion of chance in it.Since their installation, the place has grown, it is now the “eco-hamlet of the stream” (Eco-hameau du Ruisseau), constructions have sprouted up, autonomous houses which put into application all the techniques developed by Brigitte and Patrick over the years, with a ecological footprint as small as possible. The paradigm change is visible, concrete and there and it spreads like wildfire thanks to their relentless work, altogether “political, social and societal”.

The result? For more than 30 years, the place and their inhabitants are self-sufficient in water and electricity as well as for a part of their food, they are in excellent health, happy and benevolent. Relaying, teaching. Their projects continue to make all these innovations accessible to all as that is the red line for the transformation of society they offer, that it is possible for everyone.


Venue :

La Maison Autonome et l'Ecohameau du Ruisseau

Videos made on-site:

Introduction to self-sufficiency

Pigott Windmill

Bi-Energy System

A 10 000€ house

Rainwater Harvesting

Homemade phytopurification system

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