20 July 2018

Jules Renard in Chitry-les-Mines, Nièvre (58)

Pierre-Jules Renard, who wrote as Jules Renard, was born in Châlons-du-Maine (Mayenne) in 1864 and died in Paris in 1910 at forty-six. His family moved to Chitry-les-Mines in 1866, when he was two years old, to a house that was formerly the mairie or town hall, belonging to the Feuillet family. At the age of eight Renard was boarding in the lycée in Nevers, although, having moved to Paris, he abandoned his studies to become a writer. He loved the nivernais countryside and rented a former vicarage in Chaumont (not shown here) from 1895 until his death, where he lived with his wife Marie (or Marinette). On his mother's death (from a suspicious (suicidal?) drowning in a well in 1909) he began major reconstruction of the house, although he didn't live long during the process. He is buried in Chitry-les-Mines, the family names forming an open book: Renard had that done after the death of his brother Maurice in 1900. The monument in Place Jules Renard is the work of Charles-Henri Pourquet. The photo at the end is of course Jules with Marinette, a photo of a photo I took from (just inside) Chaumont.

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