An interesting boîte à lire (here called niche à livres), by the church in Véretz, in the shadow of the white mulberry tree, and quite well stocked. I couldn't resist picking up Queneau's Pierrot mon ami.
17 May 2022
The anarchist writer Eugène Bizeau (1883-1989) and equally anarchist Anne Bizeau (1882-1973) share this grave, under Anne's statue of a seated naked woman (made by Charles Correia), which resembles Rodin's Le Penseur and is turned towards the Bizeau house on Rue Chaude.
I still have a number of posts to write on the Nantes area, although I thought it important to include some of our more recent visits. Near the centre of the Forêt de Larçay is a memorial to the writer Paul-Louis Courier (1772-1825), which reads:
'Although born in Paris, Paul-Louis Courier spent his youth in Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, near Langeais. At a very early age he showed great enthusiasm for the Greek language. He became one of the best Hellenists of his time and associated with the most erudite people. He served for seventeen years as an officer in the artillery and left the Napoleonic army after Wagram. Married to Herminie Clavier in 1814, he bought the Forêt de Larçay on 16 December of the following year; he settled in Véretz in April 1818.
'The excesses of the Restauration led him to write several incendiary pamphlets.
'He was assassinated here by his gamekeeper, who manipulated other servants. It is quite possible to believe that this crime had political ramifications.
'This monument was erected in 1828 at the expense of his widow.' (My translation.)
This monument omits a number of things, such as Courier's problems with the neighbours using the wood from his trees for warmth, why the gamekeeper killed him, and his relationship with his wife, but so much has been written on the subject that it would be redundant to add anything.
15 May 2022
It seems that the sisters Topette and Carafon – street musicians (with a violin) in Nantes during the 1920s, and from an upper middle-class family from which they rebelled – are spiritually linked to the Amadou sisters in Nantes in the mid-nineteenth century. The Amadou sisters called themselves Coquette et Papillon and used a guitar, and after a cab accident Coquette became handicapped and for a time Papillon took her around on a soapbox on wheels: they died in oblivion. The story goes that Topette and Carafon were named in memory of the former sisters. When Carafon died Topette shut her in a cupboard, and it was only because neighbours were alarmed by the smell that the police were called, much to the fury of Topette, whose mentality was in a very poor state.
Le Cimetière Miséricorde, Hauts-Pavés–Saint-Félix, Nantes (44): #7 Pierre-Hildevert Lagarde / La Tombe Pagode
The writer and ship owner Pierre-Hildevert Lagarde was a friend of Jules Verne and the composer Aristide Hignard (also a friend of Verne, with whom he journeyed to the UK and Scandinavia). The influence of exotic places is evident here.
Le Cimetière Miséricorde, Hauts-Pavés–Saint-Félix, Nantes (44): #6 Jean-Romain Lefèvre and Pauline Utile
The initials of the surnames of Jean-Romain Lefèvre (1819-83) and Pauline Utile (1830-1922) provide the name of the world famous biscuit LU, which I made a post of some way below. As I said there, the original factory has now retained the name LU, being a Lieu Unique.
It is ironic that the person responsible for the magnificent Passage Pommeraye in the centre of Nantes – which is certainly the biggest attraction in the area – would not have a grave to match that glory. However, this very humble stone is all there is: the passage, with all its legal and structural problems, proved Pommeraye's ruin.
14 May 2022
Le Cimetière Miséricorde, Hauts-Pavés–Saint-Félix, Nantes (44): #3 Pierre-Gabriel Verne and Sophie Allote de la Fuÿe
Pierre-Gabriel Verne (1799-1871) and Sophie Allote de la Fuÿe (1800-87) were the parents of Jules Verne, who was born in Nantes and whose presence is all over the city.
Philippe Gengembre (1764-1838) was born in Houdain, Pas-de-Calais, and was a chemist and inventor. He became an expert in powder chemistry and the energy produced by steam. He was sent to the USA to help the commercial and political interests of France. His son Colomb (1790-1863) was the originator of the idea of the commune La Colonie in Condé-sur-Vesgre.
Oddly, Marc Elder (1884-1933) isn't featured in many guides to this cemetery, not even – at the time that I post this – in Wikipédia's entry for Le Cimetière Miséricorde. And yet he earned the Goncourt in 1913 with Le Peuple de la mer, a novel set in L'Herbaudière, Nourmoutier. Elder (or Marcel Tendron, his real name) was born in Nantes, and is recognised in at least two local street names: one opposite the castle, and the other in Rezé-Trentemoult.
10 May 2022
Paimbœuf is an interesting village on the Loire, a former outer harbour of Nantes. Some of its facades are odd, such as the one with computer circuits as a kind of decoration, or the one made of reclaimed articles of wood.
8 May 2022
On the face of it, the first banner here seems to be right on the button about the problems faced by all today: against globalisation, market values, corruption, treating people as sheep, etc. But what of that banner behind, indicating horror at health workers being suspended? What's that about? Suspended because they've not had the jabs?
And then I picked up a leaflet, which I discovered is highly Covid-sceptical, questioning the substances in the vaccine, questioning the authority of people to give the vaccine without full qualifications, questioning the lack of knowledge of doctors of the substances in the vaccine, questioning the assumed silencing of Covid sceptics in the media, questioning the efficacy of the vaccine, etc, etc. At a time when all virtually measures are about to be relaxed in France, there is a demonstration for what purpose? I give up.
La Carrière Miséry is in the process of life change. From a quarry for the extraction of granite, the place of the execution of counter-revolutionary surrounds, an industrial brewing area and theatrical acts, it is poised for L'Arbre aux hérons in 2027, a creation by François Delarozière.
7 May 2022
Tadashi Kawamata is trying to create a link between people and places. This is a long, wooden passageway giving a view of the sky and the river, a projection above the cliff. The structure is a heady experience to view from its thirty-six metres in length, twenty metres from the ground.
Mrzyk and Moriceau's Lunar Tree is perhaps best seen in the dark, although I think it stands out well here against a clear blue sky. A dead tree, pure white, twelve metres tall.
Philippe Ramette's Éloge du pas de côté is right in the centre of a restaurant area, his besuited man in almost archaic tie with his eyes on the horizon. But the vital thing is that he has one foot on a base, the other in nothingness, the void. How much do we believe him, or in him? Is he really human? In his impeccable dress he seems a part of the world, or maybe a very old world that vanished before his eyes? Maybe just an old fart, or a memory of how we used to look but have moved on sartorially, but not mentally? We may have casualised the way we look, but not the way we think?
Oddly, this is one of the few Boìtes à lire (usually called Boìtes à livres, here called Dépôt des livres) I've yet to find in the Nantes area, but there were no pickings for me. Is anyone really interested in ancient Bottins (telephone directories)? Yeah, I suppose there must be. The world is a strange place.