Thyde Monnier (1887–1967) was born in Marseille and died in Nice. Twice married, she believed that marriage leads to the extinguishing of the powers of women. She lived with her first husband Maurice Pourchier for about five years in Allauch, where her novel La Rue Courte (1937) is set. The actual Rue Courte in Allauch has now been renamed Rue Thyde Monnier, and recently Espace Thyde Monnier and a school bearing her name was established a few kilometers from the village. My other Thyde Monnier post: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Thyde Monnier: Les Desmichels I : Grand-Cap
There are five remains of windmills here in Allauch (roughly pronounced 'allo', but the 'o' is not a diphthong). By chance, the Esplanade Frédéric Mistral is appropriate not just because of the regional poet himself but also due to the existence of the mistral wind.
Dating from 1729 and built by Louis Ricard, a baker from Allauch, this was the last windmill to be built on the Frédéric Mistral promenade. It was restored in 2013 and is open to the public at limited times.
In the middle of the roundabout in Bonneveine, Marseille's eighth arrondissement, and very close to the Musée d'art contemporain, is César Baldaccini's sculpture of his own thumb. César (1921–98), of working-class Italian origin, is also the creator of the César film award, the French equivalent of the Oscar: the awards are of compressed metal that he was noted for in his sculptures.
Le Corbusier, then, designed this building, La Cité Radieuse, which was completed in 1952 after several years' work and is on the Boulevard Michelet in the eighth arrondissement. And the 'song' of the cicadas is clearly present here.
The birthplace of Marcel Pagnol (1895–1974), film maker, writer, academician, etc, is 16 Cours Barthélemy in Aubagne. At the time of visiting the house (today, as I write) external renovations were being made. This meant that a photo of the house itself would have had a very negative look, so I avoided taking one. Sculptor Daniel Scaturro's bust of Pagnol, revealed on 28 February 2015, on the 120th anniversary of Pagnol's birth, was covered in very closely woven blue netting. However, I was able to point my lens through it and obtain photos that are at least recognisable.
Marcel Pagnol was the son of Joseph and Augustine, and the family lived in a flat on the third floor. The reconstruction of some of their rooms, is now on the ground floor.
None of the furniture or clothing presented here are original to the Pagnol family, although they are in keeping with the period and are from the Provence area. This is a reconstruction of the salon, and Marcel's mother tended to produce the children's clothes.
The reconstruction of the salon.
Joseph, the father of the family, was teacher at the Lakanal school, and supplemented his income by drawing maps for the publishers Vidal-Lablache.
There are photos of two other noted people from Aubagne: Louis Sicard (1871–1946), the creator of the famous ceramic cicada, who also lived in the house. His sister Thérèse Neveu found a means of making santons (tiny Provençal figures) more durable.
A reconstruction of the Pagnol kitchen.
Bartavelles, or royal partridges, so often mentioned in La Gloire de mon père.
I suppose it shows how famous Stendhal is to put up a plaque informing viewers that he spent several months living there before creating his masterpiece La Chartreuse de Parme. The implication, I think, it that it was conceived here.
Marcel Pagnol (1875–1974) was born in Aubagne (13), although he is more associated with Marseille, perhaps with the small village of La Treille in particular, which is mentioned in his novels Le Châteaude ma mère and La Gloire de mon père, which his family passed on foot on their way to their rented summer holiday home which is in reality slightly outside of La Treille: Les Bellons is a hamlet in the commune of Allauch. He is buried with his mother Augustine and his three-year-old sister Estelle.
There is another Pagnol tomb here containing members of the same family. Marcel fell out with his father Joseph (1869–1951) for marrying someone younger than himself, Madeleine (1887–1949). Along with his father and step-mother, Marcel's brothers Paul and René and his sister Germaine are buried here.
Marius Broquier (1899–1977) was a mason by profession and a childhood friend of Marcel Pagnol's, who employed him for set decoration in several of his films.
Also in this tiny cemetery is Baptistin David Magnan (1898–1918). He was another childhood friend of Pagnol's, killed in the First World War, but Pagnol novelised his relationship and named him Lili des Ballons in Le Châteaude ma mère and La Gloire de mon père.
At the entrance to the village is a mural, at the side of which is a quotation by Pagnol (with a sketch of him) from La Gloire de mon père: '... nous sortîmes du village, alors commença la féerie et je sentis naître un amour qui devait durer toute ma vie' ('... we left the village and then began the enchantment and I felt a love growing within me which would last all my life'). This is the hold that Pagnol has over people today, and his grave is visited by many people of all ages.
The only thing that makes me cringe a bit is that, although Pagnol is undoubtedly an important southern French writer, how much of the adulation for him is due not to reading his works but to seeing his work on screen and to sentimentalising? For some reason (harshness? lack of sentimentality?) Jean Giono (beyond any doubt a deeper writer) doesn't receive anything like the same acclaim.
NB. Much of the information above about the cemetery and the Pagnol connections come from my reading of Bertrand Beyern's website: any factual errors here are almost certainly my fault.
Zarafa was originally created in 2006 for the 'festival du livre' in the La Canebière. It was named after Zarafa, the first giraffe to arrive in France, in 1826. The first model Zarafa was intended to last only three days, but it lasted a year before being burned. This newer model is made of metal and with a young giraffe, Marcel, at its side. Marcel's body is empty because it serves as a kind of book exchange, with people leaving books they don't want, borrowing a book to return, replacing it with another, or simply walking off with one.
The bust of Frédéric Mistral in the Place Théo Lombard, eighth arrondissement, Saint--Giniez, Marseille. The back reads 'Je souhaite, mes chers amis, que Marseille, si hosptaliére, devienne la capitale de l'empire du soleil': Mistral hoping that the very hospitable Marseille becomes the capital of the empire of the sun.
My Frédéric Mistral posts: ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Le Panier is in the second arrondissement of Marseille, is the oldest part of the city, and perhaps has been made most famous by Jean-Claude Izzo's novels. Its name dates from a former inn that had a basket as its sign. There is an exchange 'shop' there in which you can take one of the items and replace it for another. That was the problem this morning: the bookcase outside had a book I wanted: Emmanuelle Pireyre's Féerie Generale. Problem is, we didn't have a book to give in exchange, a problem made even worse by the fact that it was Sunday: no way of buying a book for three euros at Gibert Joseph to leave in exchange for this. Then my partner Penny thought of a brilliant idea: dash to the giraffe near Réformés Canebières. Unfortunately the giraffe's belly was empty, but even as we were turning away a guy came up and left two books in the receptacle: I grabbed the scholarly non-fiction work on Martin Luther King and we sped back to leave the MLK work in exchange for the Emmanuelle Pireyre. OK, I know that some would argue that Féerie Generale is unreadable, but I'm happy with the exchange: how else can you find good literature on a French Sunday in Marseille, apart from the vide grenier in the hippodrome?
Oh, yeah, Le Panier: my photographic comments below:
This last shot was taken from La Place des Moulins, and is one of the three windmill remains here.