Grothendieck came to consider the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques at Bures a gilded cage that kept him away from real life.
The solidarity of outcasts had created in him a strong feeling of compassion. Grothendieck had always been uncomfortable frequenting the “better” places and felt more at ease among the poor, even the impoverished.
The son of a militant anarchist who had devoted his life to revolution, Alexander lived as an outcast throughout his entire childhood. His home was always wide open to “stray cats”.
Pierre Cartier, A Mad Day’s Work. as quoted in Wer ist Alexander Grothendieck?
(I liberally rearranged the text.)