Cécile Carré (Nouméa, New Caledonia, 1973) and Bruno Conigliano (Mulhouse, France, 1974) are a French couple who have been living in Barcelona for more than 18 years. Both are architects d’interieur. They’ve traveled all around the world together with their three children: Gaspard, 13; Louise, 11; and Gabriel, 7. This family of travelers illustrate their destinations in colorful and poetic drawings. Be sure to enjoy their video (see below).

You’ve been all around the world. Tell us about your trips.

Before having the kids, our first trip was to Indonesia. It was a trip that we really wanted to do because in our school, l’École Boulle in Paris, a really important part of our studies had to do with observation and observation drawing. We were taught that the best way to understand something is to draw it.


We became really interested in this topic and we decided to go on a trip to Indonesia to make a study of the vernacular architecture. We returned to Paris with a lot of drawings. We loved it. I think that’s a little bit of the reason why we kept traveling like that: to actually discover new cultures and places, to know what is behind the images that are sold to us.


We didn’t go to touristic places. We went from little town to little town where we slept at people’s houses. Wooden houses, where we slept on the floor with the other members of the family. It was an incredible experience, both in the professional and personal field. Especially the second one, it was really touching and shaped us somehow. And since then we always have this urge to discover, to get to know new countries in depth when we travel.

What came after?

After that we went to Central America. And then came our most important trip. It was our honeymoon. We went from Istanbul to Peking. It was a road trip. We went through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal and from there we flew to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and China. All over land borders. On the way back home we took the Trans-Siberian Railway. It was important for us to come back slowly while crossing time at full speed. It was amazing, the best way to end our trip.

Is there any special anecdote from that trip?
The funniest thing is that we financed the trip with our wedding gifts. We went backpacking, so our wedding registry was a bunch of different bundles such as “bus ticket to go from one place to another” so people could participate in a specific detail of the trip. It was really nice. And while traveling, we had a list with every gift and the person that gave it to us so that we could send a postcard whenever we got to that place, which was our unique thank you note. 

And this trip lasted a year... Well, actually, ten months. Afterwards we spent two months thinking about where to establish our lives. It was during this time that we edited our book. It was a book full of the drawings we had done during the trip. It was really interesting to be able to share our experiences with more people.

And with the kids, what was your first trip?

[Her daughter, Louise, answers]: Bali.

Yes. We went back to Bali with the kids. We went when Louise was 3 and Gaspard 5 years old. As a start with the kids, we wanted an easy yet exotic country. Bali is an amazing place with spectacular aesthetics. The food is great and people are so nice and adorable... It's pretty small so it's easy to move around.

Where did you stay with the kids? Were you still backpacking?

Yes. Well... with the kids we stayed at better places than when it was just the two of us. But yes, we always stayed at guesthouses.

Weren’t you scared about your children’s health?

No. In fact, when you’re used to traveling, you can feel it. You acquire reflexes. It’s something that you learn while traveling. A one-year trip is a little bit like a school. You learn that everything has a solution.

What is the biggest challenge while traveling with kids?

With the kids? Ufff... to make them happy. That’s the big challenge, especially now that they’re getting older. When they’re little, they don’t care. They enjoy themselves with anything and everything. But now... Gaspard is already a teenager, we should ask him what he thinks about our last trip. At some points I think they got a bit bored. 

Where else did you go with your children?

After Bali, Gabriel was born and we went in a camper van through Sweden and Norway, which was really nice and fun. It was a two-week trip. Gabriel was 9 months old. We had a blast, really beautiful.

Wow, how is it to travel with a little baby?

Well... He didn’t walk so was really easy, he didn’t cry. Not even on the plane when we spent 15 hours flying, the kids didn’t care. Nor when we were in the camper van. It was always really nice.

Gaspard enters the room and we ask him and Louise about their favorite trip:

[Louise]: Indonesia.

[Gaspard]: Malaysia.

[Cécile]: Yes, Malaysia was really fun. We spent a long time at the beach. We stayed one week in Phuket, two weeks at the Perhentian and afterwards we went down across the jungles with the train that crosses the center of Malaysia until we got to Kuala Lumpur. We went to see elephants and other things more enjoyable for the kids.

What other trips have you done with them?

After Malaysia we went to Ladakh, the Tibetan part of India. It is a really small piece of land where you can see China, Pakistan Afghanistan and of course India at the same time. It's really special. 

Is Ladakh where you took those pictures where you’re showing your sketch pad to some monks?

Yes, exactly. And this was for the kids... Well, it was really quiet and nice. I don’t know if they liked it… because there was not much beach.  [Looks at Louise and Gaspard and smiles]


[Louise]: Il n’y avait rien à faire...


That’s true. There was not much to do. Every day we went to pray at 5 in the morning for two hours. It was a different experience.

Every day?

Well... we went a couple of times [laughs]. It was a time to think, to relax... We drew a lot and we spent time contemplating. I think it was really important and good for them. They have had to learn that one doesn’t have to be always active, doing stuff with more people. It’s been a good training process for them.

One has to know how to get bored too; whenever you’re bored is when creativity occurs, right?

That’s what they say! I think it was a good school for them because they’re neither really in need of attention all the time nor do they have to be doing something 24/7. However, nowadays it’s much easier with their phones and such... [Sighs and smiles]

You said you’re not scared about your kids’ health. Were you never sick during your trips?

Oh yes... Once in Pakistan with Bruno! We ate the spiciest food imaginable. It was awful... My tongue was like... I had the feeling my tongue was like a steak on fire.


We were also sick during our wedding trip, in Laos. But I think there was a huge psychological factor too. We’d been traveling for seven months and when we got there we bumped into a friend of Bruno’s by coincidence. Her husband was the doctor at the French embassy and they invited us to stay with them for a week. On the second day, we were both in bed completely sick... But no, we never had any problem. I think is also because we’re cautious, as I said before.

You travel mostly around Asia, right?

Yes, we love it. It’s an incredible place where the people are really peaceful and nice. The food is amazing and they have unique and impressive aesthetics. Also, when you’re traveling with kids. We’re five. Everything becomes more expensive. Asia – at least for the moment – was a pretty inexpensive area.

How do you prepare for your trips? Do you plan them or do you like to improvise?

We plan them a lot more since having the children. For example, Malaysia, we planned a lot. Gabriel was really young so we didn’t want to get somewhere and not have a place to sleep. However, some other trips cannot be planned as much. Like the one we made to Myanmar. There were places like Dawei where you couldn’t find a place to search for guesthouses or hotels on the Internet.

Do you have any anecdote of this trip to Myanmar?

It was an incredible but also a “hard” trip. It depends if you’re used to traveling and where you’ve been. I remember the kids... we didn’t see a tourist for days, more than a week! The first time we saw one Gaspard screamed “Ah! Look a friend!!!” 

Let’s talk about your drawings. When do you do it? Do you stop, sit somewhere and start drawing? All of you?

Yes. Well not always the five of us. The kids are not always in the mood. Especially as they grow older.

Do you each have your own scrapbook?

Yes, each of us travels with his/her own scrapbook and own material.

Is it spontaneous? Do you see something you like and you suddenly stop and draw it?

Well... Now I’m talking just about Bruno and I. Sometimes the kids just have to adapt to the situation. We love the rhythm that a drawing day offers you.


Especially because when you’re traveling you’re standing all the time; observing stuff, visiting places... And when we made our one-year trip we loved the possibilities that drawing while traveling gave us. It’s also the fact that you’re not just static while standing and looking something. No, you get to have some kind of intellectual activity, which is especially important when you travel for a long time. In our opinion you need something; drawing, writing, taking pictures... something. It keeps you awake. 


It also gives you the opportunity to interact with a lot of people. They get close to you to check what you’re drawing, to ask you stuff... It’s really funny. And it puts you in situations you’d never be without drawing. We always have a lot of fun.

Tell us about your Behomm experience.

We did our first exchange last year, in Italy. We stayed at Milan. Bruno was the architect for one of the Expo pavilions, so we went there to enjoy the Expo. We exchanged with a really nice family from Milan. They have a vintage store with brands and well-known/famous designers. But their house... It was incredible. It was full of original pieces. Breath-taking! 

What’s next on your wish list?

Well... these past days a Behomm member offered us a new exchange. Reykjavik. Iceland sounds just amazing! We’re actually looking forward to it.

Wow, Iceland... We’ve heard is incredible. How nice!

Yes, the truth is that after all these trips visiting temples, and amazing architecture... I need a country with powerful landscapes, with nature. When I got the exchange offer I said, “Why not?”. We’re excited! 

After all of your travels, what do you think is the world’s biggest challenge?

I think that... oh I make a lot of theories lately. Either “something” comes and saves us from what we’re doing here on Earth, or we’re done. Humanity will be extinct soon. The Earth will still be here, but it doesn’t need us! It’s been here for millions of years, always finding its way out of everything... Dinosaurs, ice ages... everything. I mean, mankind is nothing here on Earth.


And we’re messing it up in big dimensions. In this last era of industrialization, we’ve hurt nature more than in the thousands of years that man has been living on Earth. We’re killing what gives us life. It’s a really fatalistic view, but I think it’s pretty realistic as well. We need to be aware of it.

You’ve been in a lot of underdeveloped countries. What do you think we can learn from them?

I believe we must help each other. They should teach us how to live and be happy with fewer things; they know how to do it and we’ve forgotten.


On the other hand, we have to teach those countries about human rights; everything that we know. Developed societies have a lot of good qualities too.


One way to do it is... Well, whenever I travel with the kids, It provides a lot of opportunities to talk with them about a variety of topics, such as the controversy regarding the veil for women, freedom... I know it wouldn’t be so easy to teach these things from home.

It’s been really inspiring to talk to you today. There are no right paths; the one that each person goes on is just an option. There is an infinite amount of ways to happiness.

I think whichever way you choose is the correct one. You always have to open doors for new opportunities. The other day I was listening to Jean-Claude Carrière, a French philosopher-novelist. He said “I’ve never planned anything in my life”, “never had a defined path to go through”, “but whatever I’ve done I’ve always done it well and giving my best”. I think that’s what brought him to success.

I think in the end, being successful doesn’t mean public success, nor having a lot of money. To me success is when on your last day, you can look back and say, “I’ve lived the best way possible, and it has shown results”. To live a life you’re proud of.


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Interview by Marta Martínez Feijoo and Júlia Juste 

Cécile Carré & Bruno Conigliano Home ID: 743