Haveli Fran├žaise

In 1999 French artist Nadine Le Prince bought a 19th-century haveli in Fatehpur and, with the help of Dinesh Dhabhai of Mandawa Haveli, spent the next year locating the right artisans, paints, and methods of restoring it. Now called Haveli Nadine (though locals call it angrez ki haveli -- Englishwoman's haveli), it's been converted into a cultural center that's aimed at bringing together the art of Rajasthani with that of foreign artists, and preserving the art forms of Shekhawati. When rain and humidity damaged her newly restored haveli in 2003, Nadine waited for the walls to dry up, and began restoration work in earnest again. Serious art lovers should make an effort to stop here, particularly when an exhibition is on; you can discover Rajasthan through paintings or sculptures not available in any of the regular tourist centers. Either way, touring this gorgeous, painstakingly restored haveli is one way you can visualize what this region's art might have looked like in its heyday. It's generally open between 8am and 7pm each day, but call to check (tel. 01571/23-3024; nadine.leprince@free.fr; Rs 100 admission).

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