24 July 2016

Jean Giono in Manosque (04)


C'est dans la maison d'en face, au 14 rue grande, Jean Giono vécut toute sa jeunesse, de sa prime enfance jusqu'à son mariage en 1920. Au rez-de-chaussée, se trouvait l'atelier de sa mère, repasseuse et, au 3e étage, l'atelier de cordonnier de son père. Jean Giono décrit avec tendresse sa maison d'enfance dans beaucoup de ses écrits.'

A plaque opposite this house in Manosque, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, states that Jean Giono (1895–1970) was born here, the son of a laundress who worked on the ground floor, and whose father was a shoemaker who worked on the third floor. Giono lived here until his marraige in 1920. The left panel of the plaque gives a quotation from Giono's autobiographical Provence Perdu (1967), in which he describes the house as having more than twenty large rooms with ceilings 'as high as the night'. He describes his family as free as birds, but adds that they lived in poverty, the floorboards were like a ship's deck, and the roof was like a colander, with rain falling on his bed.

1 rue torte also used to be given as Giono's birthplace, but I don't think it is any longer.

Lou Paraïs, Giono's house in Manosque, bought from the sales of his first, and obviously very successful, novel Colline (1929). He lived here from 1930 until his death in 1970, and here he wrote most of his work. His travels from here were very few* and largely mental, and he lived here with his wife Élise and his daughters Aline and Sylvie. Photography is not allowed inside. The town of Manosque now owns the house and envisages that after work it will be ready for the fiftieth anniversary of his death in 2020.

*Giono used to spend his grandes vacances at La Margotte farm between Mane and Forcalquier, only about ten miles from Manosque.

My other Jean Giono posts:

Sylvie Giono: Jean Giono à Manosque: Le Paraïs
Jean Giono: L' Homme qui plantait des arbres
Jean Giono: Le Hussard sur le toit | The Hussar on the Roof
Jean Giono: Colline | Hill of Destiny
Jean Giono: Un de Baumugnes | Lovers Are Never Losers

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