Book benches in the Village

Open Air Exhibition

From 1 June to 26 August, La Vallée Village is an outdoor library. On the programme: a cultural walk to rediscover the greatest literary opuses, transformed into illustrated benches.

A literary quiz will accompany the exhibition. If you get all the answers right, you will get the chance to win a €500 La Vallée Village Gift Card in a prize draw on 31 August.

La Vallée Village found inspiration in the belles-lettres for a playful and rich exhibition organised in partnership with the association Lire et Faire Lire, chaired by the writer Alexandre Jardin.

From the classics of Jules Verne to Arthur Rimbaud and Gustave Flaubert, we invite you into the heart of the most beautiful novels. Around 20 benches in the form of open books will be installed in the Village to honor French literature. The benches will then be auctioned for Lire et Faire Lire.


The night falls and the hours ring; The days go away I remain.

Guillaume Apollinaire, Le Pont Mirabeau


In 1913, Guillaume Apollinaire was successful for the first time with Alcools, a collection of his poems written since 1898. Then he published Peintres cubistes, méditations esthétiques. In 1918, Guillaume Apollinaire published Calligrammes, poems about peace and war, an invention of him to freely arrange words into sketches and not according to verses and rhymes.

Guillaume Apollinaire introduced avant-gardist movements in his time: naive art, African Negro art, fauvism, cubism and he was considered to be a precursor to surrealism, for which he created the name. For Guillaume Apollinaire, creation is not based on any theory, but must come from imagination and intuition and be as close as possible to life and nature. Art must be founded on sincere emotions and spontaneous expression: both are in direct relationship with the life that they strive to beautify.


This poem is part of the collection, Alcools, where it appears in second position between Zone and La Chanson du mal-aimé. The author wrote it in 1912 after his stormy affair (of 5 years) with the painter, Marie Laurençin.
This legendary poem speaks of love that disappears over time, metaphorically the Seine River flowing under the pont Mirabeau.

THE ARTISTS: Yumiko Kimura and Jun Sato

Yumiko Kimura and Jun Sato are married. A few years ago, they left Tokyo for Paris and have become experts in glass and mirror art. They chose Apollinaire’s le Pont Mirabeau because it is a very famous poem – even in Japan – that speaks about the Seine, a symbol of Paris.

Main personal and collective expositions: Galerie Studio Laboratorio di Anna Virando à Turin // Galerie Mitsukoshi in Kagoshima in Japan // Réalités nouvelles Hors les Murs (Belgrade, Peking) // Salon de Tokyo // Carrément 2/3/4/5, espace Christiane Peugeot at Paris Abstract Photography in Kyoto, Japan // Abstract Project in Paris.

Apollinaire also invented the «calligram» technique which arranges words to make pictures. This is the technique that the 2 artists chose to decorate the front of the bench and for the back, they assembled thousands of small pieces of mirrors, selected one by one, like a mosaic. An exceptional work of precision for an enchanting result!


The Poet is a kinsman in the clouds; Who scoffs at archers, loves a stormy day; But on the ground, among the hooting crowds, He cannot walk, his wings are in the way.

Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal


Charles Baudelaire admired classicism, was inspired by romanticism, somewhere between Parnassus and symbolism, was the champion for «modernity», and is recognized as one of the major writers in the history of French poetry for his collection, Les Fleurs du Mal, which took him a lifetime to complete. In the midst of debate about the function of literature during his era, Baudelaire detached poetry from morality and proclaimed that is was totally intended to serve Beauty, and not Truth.


Collection of 100 poems, published June 25, 1857 in Paris. His poems are divided into 5 sections: Spleen et Idéal, Le Vin, Les Fleurs du Mal, La Révolte et La Mort.
Les Fleurs du Mal are not a succession of poems published according to the author’s inspiration. Baudelaire arranged them according to a very precise itinerary, as he wrote to Vigny in a famous letter in 1861: «The only praise I seek for this book is the recognition that it is not a mere album and that it has a beginning and an end».


Patrick Appéré is a wonderfully talented jack-of-all trades. «Paddy» likes to vary his experiences, mediums and techniques. He has worked in advertising, architecture, television, cinema, the press, publishing, tattooing, painting, engraving and street art. He likes sharing and discovering, which is the essence of literature. The artist has a habit of leaving books that he has read in the train, on a bench (!) , under the mail boxes in his entrance hall. He believes that a book should continue its life’s purpose to entertain, inform, amaze, provoke thought, help discover, and instruct, among others. So naturally, he was very happy to participate in the event that combines pictorial art and literature, an opportunity to pay his respect to our classics.


Nature, displayed in its full extent, presents us with an immense tableau, in which all the order of beings are each represented by a chain which sustains a continuous series of objects, so close and so similar that their difference would be difficult to define.

Buffon, L’Histoire naturelle des Oiseaux

the author: BUFFON

His name is linked to Buffon, in Côte-d’Or, whose manor was acquired by the Leclerc family. Born to a rich family that belonged to the nobility of the robe, Buffon went to study with the Jesuits, and after to study law at the Université de Dijon, and medicine, botany and mathematics in Angers.
In 1734, he entered the Académie des sciences as «assistant mechanic». He was interested in all aspects of nature, used mathematics as a tool and carried out research on the reproductive organs of animals. In 1739, Buffon was named Steward of the King’s Garden. He enlarged it and constantly added to its collections while working on his Histoire Naturelle. The Académie française opened its doors to him in 1753 and he became member of all of the great European academies. Buffon strived to make his work approachable to all so that it would be widely read. His contemporaries considered him to be a great writer and even a great poet. His Histoire naturelle was a significant success, rivaling with Diderot’s Encyclopédie (the century’s greatest European publication). 36 volumes were published during his lifetime (1749-1785) and 8 others after his death. He approached his subject like a philosopher: Buffon not only described the species, but for each individual, he systematically noted their environment, their story, their habits. By studying several species that were physiologically close but with different habits or habitats, he composed families that had a biological unity. For him, these families came from a unique species that had diversified over time, without modifying essential biological characteristics. Thus, he anticipated the theory of evolution without agreeing with the hypothesis of transformation, presented by Maupertuis in 1751: he attributed these variations to a spontaneous grouping of «organic molecules».

the book: LES OISEAUX

Considered to be one of the most beautiful books on ornithology ever written, L’Histoire naturelle des Oiseaux de Buffon is one of the treasures in the Louis Médard library. Published by the royal print from 1771 to 1786, it includes 10 volumes with 1008 colored pages of illustrations. Buffon attached great importance to illustrations and he asked the King’s illustrator and engraver, François-Nicolas Martinet, to undertake that task. His illustrations combine realism and aesthetics, with particular attention to the color of the birds’ feathers.

the artist: JEANJÉRÔME

JEANJÉRÔME’s universe? Solid colors applied alongside subtle, subdued shades: voluble, curved fluorescent geometrics that explode into shapes. JEANJÉRÔME first tried Tag art, graffiti and sculpture. What started him? Street Art as well as Art nouveau. He likes the curves, the bold colors, the decorative look. JEANJÉRÔME likes to share his art like a «live performance», marking urban space with his imprint. For him, all mediums make sense, as long as they add art to our daily lives. His painting produces energy, a creativity that, depending on the medium, adapts to textures in an urban, elegant orchestral movement.


And now gentlemen, all for one, one for all - that is our motto, is it not?

Alexandre Dumas, Les Trois Mousquetaires


His Alexandre Dumas’s father was a mixed-race general from Santo Domingo who died when Alexandre was 4 years old, and he did not have a very happy childhood.

In 1822, he left for Paris, a new life for Alexandre who discovered the Comédie Française. Under the protection of General Foy, he worked in the secretarial offices of the Duc d’Orléans.

In 1824, his son, Alexandre (future author of La Dame aux Camélias) was born and it was the year of his first success: La Chasse et l’Amour, a vaudeville play written with Adolphe de Leuven.

In 1828, Alexandre wrote his first historical play, Henri III et sa cour which was also a huge success. He became famous but squandered all of his money. He began writing serial novels which were so successful that he was paid 3 francs a line (instead of the normal 30 sous!). He was an extremely prolific author, with the notorious help of assistant writers, in particular Auguste Maquet, who participated in most of his works. Not looking for style, Dumas draws his inspiration from the great hours of French historiography, from the reign of Louis XV to the Revolution, and captures the reader’s attention with his fallacious intrigues and sketches of colorful characters.

In 2002, the ashes of Alexandre Dumas are transferred to the Pantheon and join those of Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo and Zola.


The novel tells the adventures of d’Artagnan, a penniless young man of 18 from Gascony who came to Paris to make his career as a musketeer. He becomes friends with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, musketeers under King Louis the 13th. The 4 men oppose the prime minister, Cardinal de Richelieu and his agents, including Count de Rochefort and the beautiful, mysterious Milady de Winter, to save the honor of the French queen, Anne of Austria..
Les Trois Mousquetaires is the typical example of a cape and sword novel, with its many combats and surprising twists. It has often been adapted for the cinema and television.

the artist: KARL LAGASSE

Karl Lagasse was noticed in 2009 thanks to his One Dollar sculptures. The same year, Artprice ranked him among the world’s ten best sculptors under the age of 30. In 2010, he presented his 1st monumental sculpture for the world’s horse riding championship in Lexington (United States). In 2012, Karl made another monumental sculpture for the 65th Cannes Festival, a work that was signed by all of the artists who attended the festival. In 2015, Maserati asked him to create a monumental installation, A Piece of Heaven on Earth, for the Art Paris Art Fair. The installation shows a Maserati covered in white film with a sculpture of Jesus Christ at whose feet are several dollar sculptures representing the greatest debt of humanity paid in full.
In 2017, the American Film Festival of Deauville chose Karl Lagasse to create the 13 trophies inspired by his work Cryptogram One for the 43rd edition of the Festival.


On certain occasions art can shake very ordinary spirits, and whole worlds can be revealed by its clumsiest interpreters.

Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard et Pécuchet


Gustave Flaubert left his mark on universal literature by the depth of his psychological analysis, his concern for realism, his lucid assessment of individual behaviors and society’s attitudes, as well as by the force of his style in his great novels. Both challenged (for morality) and admired (for his literary skills) in his time, he is today one of the greatest novelist of his century. Flaubert was very preoccupied by aesthetics, and he tested his texts in the famous « shouting room » where he would shout out his texts, sometimes for hours on end. Finally, his ironic and pessimistic view of humanity made him a great moralist. His Dictionnaire des idées reçues gives us an idea of this talent.


As early as 1872, Flaubert thought of writing an extensive mockery of his contemporaries’ vanity. The book, for which he had collected an impressive documentation of 1500 works, was published in 1881, one year after his death!
One warm summer in Paris, two men, Bouvard and Pécuchet, meet by chance on a public bench (!) and become acquainted. They discover that not only do they have the same profession (copyist), but that they both would like to live in the country. An unexpected inheritance allows them to change their lives. They buy a farm not far from Caen, and launch into agriculture. Their inability causes nothing but disasters.
They have the same problems when they become interested in medicine, chemistry, geology and politics. Tired of being failures, they go back to their profession as copyists.
Flaubert criticizes accepted ideas and shows that, unlike what Hegel believed, history is never ending, it continually repeats itself: the two friends, who were copyists at the beginning of the novel, return to their initial state.

the artist: MICHEL LOEB

Michel Loeb was trained as a diamond dealer! He became a painter after his meeting with the famous art dealer, Félix Vercel, who made a contract with him and exhibited his works in Paris, New York and Tokyo. Naive art was popular and his work was very successful with actors and writers. Today, the artist lives in Oppède and is represented by the Galerie Pascal Lainé in Ménerbes in the Vaucluse. Michel Loeb is delighted to participate in “Les Livres à deux Places” because it seems like a good idea to him and he is an amateur of «great literature», including «Bouvard et Pécuchet» of course!



Serge Gainsbourg was born in a family of Jewish Russian immigrants, painters and musicians who had to flee and hide during the war in 1940. Few people know that Serge Gainsbourg’s first passion was painting which he considered to be a «Major Art». He even taught drawing! At 17, en enrolled in the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, rue Bonaparte in preparation for architecture. A new initiation, this time to rigor, to the perfection of the golden number, to the beauty of simple lines. However, the following year, he was completely lost in math, despite the private lessons paid by his papa. A sordid hazing, he who already had a very hard time tolerating promiscuity, finished by disgusting him. After two years, perhaps less, he permanently abandoned painting for song. He took the pseudonym of Gainsbourg in tribute to the painter, Gainsborough.
A peculiar personality in French culture, Serge Gainsbourg was much more than a singer. «The man with a cabbage head» was above all, a great melodist and a brilliant author who knew how to use the French language with a very personal and very … provocative talent.


Evguénie Sokolov is a novel written by Serge Gainsbourg as a revenge on his past as an unsuccessful painter. It was published by Gallimard in 1980.
Evguénie Sokolov is a young, talented, known French painter of Slavic origin, and leader of the hyper-abstraction movement, owing his success to his «wind»: he takes advantage of the vibrations caused by his farts to paint. What a surprising story line. Who else but Gainsbourg could come up with the idea and have the nerve to write a whole book about a farting painter?
This book fits the famous singer perfectly: no complexes, provocative, funny and poetic all at once.

the artist: PIERRE ZIEGLER

Pierre Ziegler is a contemporary French painter from the Free Figuration movement, influenced by tribal art and graffiti. He has an intuitive approach that is very close to raw art. His work is a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg, the writer. Pierre Ziegler thinks that the book is a masterpiece of writing, unfortunately not very well-known by the general public. It is a parable similar to a criticism of art in a cutting, provocative style: an outstanding, passionate work that cannot be categorized.


the author: JÉRÔME GARCIN

Jérôme Garcin is the grandson of neurologist Raymond Garcin (1897-1971) married to actress Anne-Marie Philipe, daughter of actor Gérard Philipe. Jérôme Garcin says that he is proud to be a descendant of devoted, passionate doctors, driven by genuine goodness and concern for their patients, clinicians who were humanists, often with a great literary culture, far from today’s technical and technocratic medicine.
In 1962, Jérôme Garcin lost his twin brother, Olivier. He wrote a story about him that was published in 2011: Olivier. In 1973, his father, Philippe Garcin, publisher for the Presses universitaires de France (PUF), died after a horse riding accident at the age of 45. He dedicated his first novel to his father, La Chute de cheval. Since that time, he feels «escorted by two shadows that look alike.»
Jérôme Garcin studied at the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris before studying journalism. He then worked for the newspaper, L’Événement du jeudi.
In 1989, he succeeded Pierre Bouteiller in hosting the program Le Masque et la Plume on France Inter for which later, he became the producer. He was also assistant director for the weekly magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur and worked for the newspaper, Service littéraire. Former member of the jury for the Prix Décembre, he was named to the jury for the Prix Renaudot in March 2010.
The same year, he was member of the jury for the prix Françoise Sagan.

the book: LE VOYANT

This book tells the story about the life of a light man, Jacques Lusseyran, who became blind at 8, founded a network of Resistance at 17, «was crazy about literature, and loved the language of the 18th
century.» He died at 47 in 1971, and was almost completely forgotten. This oversight is what motivated the book whose character is simply unbelievable and true. An incredible blind man whose life is consumed like gunpowder and whose blindness gives him an inner strength and optimism that were almost extinguished when he was sent to Buchenwald. However, the love for literature and women brought them back once again.

the artist: CHABERT 4

Chabert 4 is a 33 year old artist from Normandy. He has lived and worked in Granville for 7 years. He mainly uses acrylics to paint large canvases. He studied at the Ecole des beaux-arts, however he continued to acquire different techniques and perfect his creativity on his own. Chabert 4 takes inspiration from street art, free figuration, raw art, comic strips…In his paintings, various writings and symbols appear around the main subject, reflecting a consumer society, sexuality, death and all with a little touch of humor. His very colorful paintings contrast with the sometimes difficult themes used in his works. In addition to painting, Chabert 4 works as a monitor-educator. He is therefore very open to the idea of education for all and the fight against illiteracy. He chose this book because it parallels the person who has lost his sight and develops other senses with the eyes of the artist whose vision is his first tool.


the author: IRÈNE FRAIN

Irène Frain obtained an agregation in classics in 1972. From 1972 to 1981 she taught classics in high schools in Lagny-sur-Marne, in Champigny-sur-Marne and then Latin and Latin literature at the Université de la Sorbonne in Paris. Irène Frain’s first novel was an epic about India during the 18th century. Le Nabab was a huge success and her following novels confirmed Irène Frain’s talent: a keen sense for plot, writing that is sometimes dry, sometimes flamboyant, a gift to foster the reader’s empathy for her characters, distinct humor and an incredible imagination. From one novel to the next, her readers never lose interest in her writing and her original personality. Irène Frain’s work has 2 underlying themes: a passion for women’s inherent challenges and a definite penchant for the Orient — they often overlap.


The novelist tells her story to the reader, at a time after the war, when many families had money problems and cramped housing… When the 3rd child, Irène, was born, it was the worst time ever.
We are in the heart of a project: the rehabilitation of a mother by going to the very depth of a life. The pages where Irène portrays this woman who always had a hard time loving this unwanted child, the child who loved to tell stories, are filled with unexpressed affection, with lucidity that is constantly revived by memories. Irène describes a brave mother, but one who is against the idea that one day her daughter might write about all of them. However, the mother will be  proud of what Irène becomes : a real writer.


Françoise Vallée Tuset’s canvases are all splattered with the colors of the rainbow. They keep traces of something that passes, of lava gushing from a volcano, of a creative explosion. Françoise Vallée Tuset lets us see the sky and water, as well as the earth, like a cracked, broken mirror that tells the sky’s story. Through her gestures, Françoise adds true poetry to abstraction. Like a sudden, materialized trace of creative energy, she portrays an impression that is always thought to be fleeting. The dialog is the same and yet so different. It creates a real link, that of a dream and a feeling. To share. Really.


the author: SACHA GUITRY

Sacha Guitry lived an extraordinary life. Son of Lucien Guitry who was the greatest actor of his time, and Renée de Pontry, actress, Sacha grew up loving the theater. His work brought him the glory and success that was comparable to his immense talent. Sacha Guitry made 36 films (including 17 from his theater 19 based on original scenarios) and wrote 124 plays. Guitry represents the French spirit of the first half of the twentieth century. Specialist in love on stage, as well as in life (he had 5 wives!) Sacha Guitry used the theme with in an extremely subtle way, sometimes even with darkness, and his contemporaries did not always perceive it under the light presentation. He was a discerning collector and didn’t hesitate to auction off some of his fine pieces to benefit charities.


The movie made from the book of the same name that tells the story of the Château de Versailles from its origin up to the French Revolution, was produced within a particular context that was tied to the world conflict from which France had a hard time recovering. Sacha Guitry also wanted to quiet some of his critics who accused him of having an ambiguous attitude toward the occupants during the war.

A «historical» cast: Sacha Guitry in the role of Louis XIV, Jean Marais is Louis XV, Brigitte Bardot: Mademoiselle de Rosille – Micheline Presle: la Pompadour, Jean Louis Barrault: Fénelon – Gérard Philipe : d’Artagnan – Edith Piaf : a revolutionary woman.

the artist: TRISTAM

Tristam is a hyperactive French artist who is a jack-of-all trades. An icon among Parisian punks during the 1980s, he founded the group of painters called «Les musulmans fumants.» He works as an independent painter since 1992. Tristam’s trademark is his insatiable curiosity. Always eager for new experiences, the artist paints like he lives: with passion, enthusiasm and rage. His creations use codes from street art, illustration, pop culture and others that he has developed throughout his career. His paintings are sensual and explosive, genuine odes to life and its pleasures. He chose this film by Guitry because «he likes to read, he likes historical stories and this book fulfills both.» It was a pleasure for him to illustrate it…and an example for youth who, according to him, really need an example!



Alexandre Jardin is a writer and film maker. He followed in the steps of his father, Pascal Jardin, writer and scriptwriter, nicknamed le Zubial.
With a diploma in political science, Alexandre wrote Bille en tête at the age of 20. A first successful work that won him the Prix du premier roman. In 1988, he received the prix Fémina for Le Zèbre, which would be adapted for the cinema in 1992 by Jean Poiret.
In 1993, he made his first film, Fanfan, the story about a man who refuses to tell a woman named Fanfan that he loves her madly.
At the same time, Alexandre Jardin works for the television as a columnist in the program « Nulle part ailleurs » on Canal+, along with Antoine de Caunes and Philippe Gildas.
As a writer, his main themes are «Feydeau», vaudeville-type love and pedagogy. He approaches the fear of monotony and winning back a first true love. Amazed children are often portrayed.
In 2011, Des gens très bien, was published. Alexandre Jardin evokes the relationship of his grandfather, Jean Jardin, with the Vichy regime.
Throughout his career, Alexandre Jardin has been active in associations. In 1999, he founded the association, « Lire et faire lire » with journalist Pascal Guénée.
In 2002, he founded the association « Mille mots », which strives to create a bridge between retirees and prison inmates.
He sponsors « Unis-Cité », an association that offers the possibility to young people to volunteer for civil service.

the book: LE ZÈBRE

Gaspard Sauvage is Le Zèbre. Married fifteen years to his wife Camille, routine has replaced the passion of the first years of marriage. Notary and father, Le Zèbre decides to reconquer Camille in order to relive the passion that they once had. He attempts to seduce the woman of his life once again using the craziest of strategies.

the artist: LEINA PICTO

"I read a lot when I was a teen, mostly classics from the family library or from school, institutional books in a way! Le Zèbre was one of the first books that I bought on my own! It refreshed the idea that I had about couples’ relationships and through the crazy love story, it opened my eyes to a much more interesting life model. Before reading Le Zèbre, reading carried the weight of culture, after reading it, it became an adventure !
Thank you, Mr. Jardin."


La mort nous guette depuis notre naissance; elle peut frapper à chaque instant et il nous faut jouir tant que nous sommes encore vivants.

Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, L’Irrésolu


Patrick Poivre d’Arvor obtained his baccalaureate at 15. After the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Strasbourg followed by the one in Paris, he continued his studies at the Centre de Formation des Journalistes from which he received his diploma in 1971. Patrick Poivre d’Arvor started his career at France Inter in 1971. He was then hired by Antenne 2 and named department head for politics, then news anchor and senior editor for the televised news at 8PM until 1983. After a short time at Canal Plus, PPDA joined TF1 in 1986 to present the program, A la folie pas du tout, then the televised news at 8PM. At the same time, he presented the literary program, Ex-libris starting in 1988, renamed Vol de nuit. He was ousted from TF1 and presented his last news program on July 10, 2008. He was succeeded by journalist Laurence Ferrari. Patrick Poivre d’Arvor bounced back to France 5 and presented La traversée du miroir from 2009 to 2012 and Une maison, un écrivain. Since January 2014, PPDA presents the news between 7PM and 8PM on Radio Classique. In April and May 2018, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is on stage at the Casino de Paris with «Patrick et ses fantômes».

the book: L’IRRÉSOLU

The hero in the novel, Victor Priakov, father unknown and mother laborer, is first condemned to prison for his involvement in an anarchist movement. After being released, he goes to Paris to search both for his origins and a brilliant destiny that will end tragically.


Tristam and Stéphane have known each other for a long time and their dream was to paint together as a pair. The time has come! We see the simple, precise, clear style of Stéphane Trapier in this work for 2 brushes and the neo pop and sensual style of Tristam… L’irrésolu takes place in the 19th century, a period that motivates the 2 artists because for them, it is obvious that everything contributing to modernity was invented at that time, especially in literature. They think that it is urgent for children and teens to abandon Instagram and FaceBook to read Jules Verne, Stevenson or HG Wells!


the author: ERIK ORSENNA

After studying philosophy and political science, Erik Orsenna chose economics. When he returned from England (London School of Economics), he published his first novel at the same time that he became Doctor in Political Science. Raymond Barre was president of his jury. He spent the next 11 years in researching and teaching international finance and development economics (Université de Paris I, École normale supérieure).
In 1981, Jean-Pierre Cot, Minister of Cooperation, called him to his office. He handled raw materials and multi-lateral negotiations. Two years later, he entered the Élysée as François Mitterrand’s cultural advisor. During the 1990s, he worked on the democratization of African countries and relations between southern Europe and North Africa with Roland Dumas, Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the meantime, he left the university to become a member of the Conseil d’État in December 1985. Currently, he is an honorary member of the Conseil d’État and has returned to his activities as an economist and entrepreneur. He also writes novels!
For a long time, Erik Orsenna was president of the Centre de la mer (Corderie royale, in Rochefort). He is ambassador for the Institut
Pasteur since March 2016. He was elected to the Académie française, on May 28, 1998, and occupies Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s chair (17th chair). Erik Orsenna has always been attracted to activities that «teach him about the universe.» Therefore travel, the sea and music are essential to his life and to his books.


This book is a stroll through the city of words, full of humor and poetry, where rules introduce themselves lightly. Tribes of verbs and adjectives, clocks of the present and past are gradually tamed by Mr. Henri’s sweet songs.

the artist: ATELIER UNE – Josiane CANITROT and Florence FAUCHOIX

Florence Fauchoix and Josiane Canitrot founded l’»Atelier Une» and are origami artists. They create their works with four hands, folding traditional Japanese papers such as washi, sakogami, kirunomi, chiyogami, to bring out the colors. Passionate about origami, the idea of participating in the exposition «Les Livres à deux Places” was an obvious choice! What is more natural than linking paper with «Lire et faire Lire».
For them, La grammaire est une chanson douce represents THE book that makes one want to read, that speaks to everyone, both children and adults, as a shared pleasure: it makes one want to go to the end of the highly colorful adventure!


the author: YANN QUEFFÉLEC

Yann Queffélec is the author of many novels and a collection of poems. He describes passionate characters who are disappointed in love. He also wrote song lyrics, in particular Né pour vivre and La Ville ainsi soit-il and all of the songs on the eponymous album for Pierre Bachelet. Although he lives in Paris, he has maintained strong ties with Brittany, particularly Aber-Ildut.


From A like Aber to Z like Zenith Who’s counting when you love something? Yann Queffélec wasn’t counting to simmer the giant cotriade, Brittany’s everlasting polyphonic song. From Caesar (the cunning conqueror of the Venetii) to Bécassine (whom he rehabilitates), from pigs to lobsters, from «Brest even to Saint-Malo and to Belle-Ile», he steers his dictionary of love like that of a drunken, cheerful boat. In one of the dictionary’s entries dedicated to the Duchess Anne de Bretagne, he takes advantage to declare his «affection» for the one who nevertheless was guilty of being the reason for the joining of Brittany to France. We have been warned. The author of Noces barbares intends to defend his idea of the region without any whining or nostalgia. Truly a family novel, the dictionary with personal accents allows us to discover a fruitful, generous Brittany.

the artist: DANIEL PILLON

A native of Trouville-sur-mer, Daniel Pillon lives in the Honfleur region. He has always expressed his feelings in different ways, through drawings and paintings. Some training, including the Ecole d’Arts Graphiques de l’Estuaire, helped him progress in the expression of his pictorial pastime.

Illustrating this Book Bench that pays tribute to author Yann Queffélec has been a wonderful opportunity for me to show my love for Brittany. For 16 years, we have vacationed with our family in this region and we have incredible memories of the area. It is also an original way for me to commune with the author through painting.




Jean-Michel Ribes is a great name in French theater. He founded his first theatrical troop in 1966, La Compa¬gnie du Pallium. The young man worked with playwright Roland Topor and promising actors, such as Gérard Darmon, Daniel Prévost and Jean-Pierre Bacri. In the 1980s, Jean-Michel worked with them to create the comical series, Palace. In 1995, the stage director obtained the award for dark humor for his very cynical Brèves de comptoir. In 2001, Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, appointed him director of the Théâtre du Rond-Point, and Jean-Michel received two Molières for his play, Théâtre sans animaux. Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur since 2007, Jean- Michel Ribes is a leading figure on the French artistic scene, which he staunchly defends and promotes through many festivals.


Group of 3 plays by Jean -Michel Ribes:

  • MUSEE HAUT, MUSEE BAS :  In this museum story, Jean-Michel Ribes wishes to explore this place where the muses meet, where mingle art and life, mortals and immortals, in a moving and absurd ballet.
  • PAR-DELÀ LES MARRONNIERS :  This play evokes the life of 3 extraordinary personalities, Jacques Vaché, inventor of «L’humour sans h», Arthur Cravan, boxer poet, dandy thug, and Jacques Rigaut, for whom suicide is «one of the Fine Arts. in a 1920s music hall atmosphere”.
  • SULKI ET SULKU ONT DES CONVERSATIONS INTELLIGENTES : «Bouvard et Pécuchet» goofy. In the wake of Musée haut, musée bas, this piece excels in the art of “jump from pillar to post” and of “croc-en-leg.”


Stéphane Trapier, an illustrator whose sketches are tinged with derision, is known for his work in the press (Télérama, Le 1, XXI, Le Monde…) and in Fluide Glacial. He has worked with the Théâtre du Rond-Point since 2004, making all of their posters.


the author: ARTHUR RIMBAUD

During his brilliant schooling, Arthur Rimbaud, beginning at 15, wrote poems that he showed to his professors or published in little magazines. According to him, a poet has to be a «visionary» and «absolutely modern». Under the influence of Georges Inzambrard, Arthur Rimbaud discovered Les Parnassiens. Then he met Paul Verlaine who was enthusiastic about his poems.
In 1872, they became lovers and Paul Verlaine abandoned his wife and children to run away with the young Arthur and live a bohemian life between France, Belgium and England.
In 1873, after a tumultuous relationship, they separated and Verlaine wounded Rimbaud with a pistol and was sentenced to 2 years in prison. In 1874, Arthur Rimbaud, was fed up and suddenly stopped writing poetry. «The man with the wind in the soles of his shoes», as Verlaine called him, left for Africa for business and weapons trafficking. His financial and physical problems increased although France, his poems began to be published in France. Arthur Rimbaud suffered from a tumor on his leg and returned to France where he died in a hospital in Marseille.

the book: LE BATEAU IVRE

Le Bateau ivre is a poem that was written at the end of the summer in 1871 (at 17!). It is composed of 25 alexandrine quatrains. It uses the first person to tell the story of a boat without a captain that is tossed by the waves and finishes by sinking.


The artist grew up in Granville. His paintings are experiments and he has a decorative approach to art. His main sources of inspiration are the universe – other forms of life beyond our galaxy, man’s freedom to act – melancholy, which allows him to have a sensitive view of his surroundings. His drawings are a means to escape, to immerse oneself in a universe full of love, sensuality, mysticism. The artist defines himself as a thinking painter who is constantly searching for his own existence. Romain Quemener was moved to participate in this project simply by the originality of the object, its size and the multiple possibilities for creation that the medium offers. The artist is inspired by the same intention that inspired Arthur Rimbaud, focusing on his story to make something metaphorical to the naked eye.



Adult, spoiled by success, she will remain like a little androgynous Tom Thumb, who sows cigarette holes all over her passage » wrote Tristan Savin. Françoise Sagan becomes famous at 18 in his first novel, Bonjour tristesse, published in 1954 from which she borrows the title to an Eluard verse.
After marrying and separating from publisher Guy Schoeller, she remarries with an American model, Robert Westhoff, whose she has a son, Denis Westhoff, in 1962. Françoise Sagan wrote a twenty novels: 30 million books sold in France, translated in 15 languages, some plays, news, scenarios, biographies and even songs. His favorite themes : easy life, fast cars, bourgeois villas, the sun, the break, a mixture of cynicism, sensuality, indifference and idleness. Spendthrift, extravagantly generous with those she loves and all those who asked for help, she burned her life by all ends. She met great people, from Greco to Mitterrand through Sartre. In 1998, the novelist wrote her epitaph «Sagan, Françoise. Made her appearance in 1954, with a slender novel, Bonjour tristesse, which was a worldwide scandal. Her disappearance, after a life and a work equally pleasant and sloppy, was a scandal only for herself. 


Cecile, who has just missed her baccalaureate, spends the summer of her 17 years in a beautiful villa on the French Riviera with her father Raymond and his young mistress, Elsa. On the program: sun, swimming, tanning, reading and parties. The mood changes radically when Raymond announces the arrival of Anne. She is a different woman, who appreciates culture, good manners and intelligence. Upon arrival, a subtle fight begins between the 3 women, which will end dramatically…


Valeria Attinelli defines herself as a cheerful, compulsive depressive. The lovely, intelligent artist associates each one of her emotional states with the color that seems to correspond to her state. Light, color, movement are really the materialization of her own energy. On a background of joy and optimism, all of Valeria Attinelli’s works speak of a woman who is free despite society’s conditioning. Since 2001, Valeria Attinelli’s creations are part of many private collections in France, Spain and North America. One of her works was recently acquired by the SACEM as one of the «works representing contemporary art.» Valeria chose Françoise Sagan because she likes liberated women who fully live their emotions, which are always explosions of life.




Son of Jean de Saint-Exupéry and Marie de Fonscolombe, Antoine is the 3rd child of 5. Turbulent and disorderly, Antoine reigns over the other children. He constantly invented games and demanded that the others play them. He was very attached to his mother and waited for her to kiss him at night before he could go to sleep. He suffered when she didn’t oblige him. He staged short plays in which he had his brother and sisters and other children play parts. He himself was a surprising actor. He wrote verses that he recited and became angry when people did not listen to him attentively. Antoine de Saint Exupéry was fascinated by planes at a very young age. He took his first flight at 12 from the airport in Ambérieu-en-Bugey. In 1921 he was called to do his military service. Having chosen aviation, he was assigned to the second regiment of aviation in Strasbourg. Enrolled in the Aéropostale, the aviator transported mail between Toulouse and Dakar. He started publishing works that told about his life, his flights and his encounters (those with Jean Mermoz and Henri Guillaumet). In 1943, Saint Ex returned to the free French forces for new reconnaissance missions. On June 17, 1944, he took off from Corsica for a reconnaissance mission and was lost at sea.


Le Petit Prince is a poetic and philosophical tale that was a huge success worldwide. Currently translated into 300 languages, Le Petit Prince is the second most translated work in the world after the Bible. The narrator is an aviator who, after his engine breaks down, has to do an emergency landing in the Sahara Desert and tries to repair his plane alone (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry puts himself in his work). The day after his forced landing, he is awakened by a small voice who asks him: «Please… draw me a sheep!» Each chapter tells about one of the little prince’s encounters that leave him feeling perplexed about «big people’s» absurd behavior. The very simple language which is intended to be understood by children, is really the narrator’s best way to share a symbolic view of life.

the artist: DJALOUZ

Illustrator, graffiti artist, tattoo artist. After having created anamorphic 3D graffiti for a long period of time, Djalouz would like to add and experiment with a new means of expression that leaves more room for drawing. With that intention, he invites us to discover his series «Je d’enfant, dessine- moi un mouton» which asks us the following question: «Adults, how can you represent the problems in the world through the eyes of children that we no longer have?» At first, the activist drawings attract us with their naive strokes, shapes and colors however after a closer look, we are pleasantly surprised to see the attention given to each detail. The childish drawing that we notice at first reveals mature research that makes the artist’s work touching and true, filled with well-chosen references.» Djalouz participates in this project because he is committed to encouraging people to open books and to disconnect from their screens.



Didier Van Cauwelaert’s father is a lawyer who would have liked to have been a writer. After a serious car accident that left him disabled, he thought that he would never walk again and threatened to commit suicide. Didier van Cauwelaert, who was 7 at the time, decided to become the world’s youngest writer for his father. At a very young age, he sent his works to publishers. In 1982, at the age of 22, Didier published his first novel,Vingt ans et des poussières with Les Editions du Seuil. Since then, the prolific author has written more than twenty novels as well as plays and musicals. The author calls himself «the novelist of reconstruction.» Most of his works are about people who are in difficulty or suffering and their construction. His writing masters are Marcel Aymé and Romain Gary.


At 25, Jérémie Rex, a baker in Arcachon, enters into a painting by Magritte. During 4 minutes and 30 seconds, he finds the woman of his life when she still loved him. Hallucination, cerebral accident, temporal-spatial change? Jérémie’s problems start when he regains consciousness: how can he get back in the painting? How can he escape reality to recreate happiness? From Venice to Perreux-sur-Marne, from the mysteries of the brain to shamanic secrets, Didier van Cauwelaert takes us on an ordinary young man’s irresistible adventure, as he is faced with the most fascinating traps of love, art and human destiny.

the artist: DANIÈLE AKMEN

Danièle Akmen chose to decorate La Maison des Lumières because Magritte might be behind one of the windows… because Venice in a blue train, a gondola or in a book is always a dream that is hard to resist. Like all children before they learn how to write, the artist scribbled, sketched, painted and has never stopped even as an adult. Her father, who was an illustrator (and his painter friends), probably let her believe that there was no better thing to do. After a short time at Arts Décos in Nice and Limoges, chance encounters allowed Danièle Akmen to expose «her little pictures» in Paris, to meet a «dealer» who became her friend and who let her continue to believe that painting was essential. That is how Danièle Akmen very simply sums up her career.



Je ne poursuis pas mon chemin, c'est mon chemin qui me poursuit.

Jules Verne, Cinq semaines en ballon

the author: JULES VERNE

Great figure of French literature, Jules Verne is a pioneer of science fiction novels. He lived during the era of great progress: electricity, the telephone, the telegraph, railroads and steam engines. He was passionate about literature and scientific discoveries, and he cleverly combined the two genres to take us on extraordinary journeys where the impossible seemed possible. In 1862, Jules Verne met a publisher named Hetzel. He showed him a manuscript called Voyage en l’air. It would be published under the title Cinq semaines en ballon, and was a huge success. It was the first volume of the Voyages Extraordinaires (that had a total of 54 volumes). It was the start of a long collaboration and a long friendship between Verne and Hetzel. In 1867, he sailed for America with his brother on an ocean liner and wrote Le Tour du Monde en 80 jours, which was loved by the public. 1886: a dark year Jules Verne was the victim of his crazy nephew who shot him with a revolver. He was wounded in the leg and limped for the rest of his life. Several days later, his publisher, Hetzel, died in Monaco. Jules Verne’s health became increasingly fragile and he died after a diabetic attack.


The inventor Samuel Fergusson, his servant Joe and his friend Dick Kennedy begin to cross the African continent – then partially unexplored – in a balloon inflated with hydrogen. The inventor has indeed imagined a device that, by avoiding him to lose gas or having to throw ballast to adjust its altitude, allows longer trips. From Zanzibar, the 3 aeronauts make the crossing at the end of which they reach Senegal before returning to England.

the artist: MARINE DI STALI

Marine (Duval-Stalla) Di Stali was born in Paris on June 5, 1972. She lives and works in Provence. Marine began her studies at the Académie Charpentier, before entering the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Graphique Met de Penninghen for 3 years. She then decided to spend a year at the Ateliers des Beaux-Arts of the city of Paris, working with Martin Bissière, Michel Geminiani, Joël Trollier, Olivier Di Pizio. Then Marine entered the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris. She remained there for 5 years and worked with Vladimir Velicovick, and other highly renowned artists before obtaining her diploma with success in 2000.
Marine Di Stali chose Jules Verne because this author is popular around the world, he invites us on several journeys, to dreams that never end, to imagination, utopia, images from another world. We travel while we imagine…we explore unknown places, science and progress are everywhere. Cinq semaines en ballon is the conquest of the sky, over one of the lands that the artist loves and one that inspires her: Africa.


the author: BERNARD WERBER

Bernard Werber was first inspired to draw and, at the age of 5, encouraged by his teacher, he wanted to become a professional illustrator. However, at 8, he wrote a story about a flea who walked around on a human body which made him change his dream and he dedicated himself to reading and writing. After his baccalaureate, he started writing Les Fourmis, based on a scenario of 7 pages which became a comic strip with the help of Fabrice Coget. During that period, he disciplined himself to 4 hours of writing every morning, and continues to this day!
After his studies in criminology in Toulouse and journalism at ESJ in Paris, he worked as a freelance journalist for several newspapers and then as scientific journalist for the Nouvel Observateur. With 30 million copies sold worldwide, translated into 35 languages, Bernard Werber is one of the world’s most read French contemporary authors. The author combines spirituality, science fiction, thriller suspense, biology and mythology in a style that he sometimes calls «philosophy-fiction».


Published in 1994 by les Editions Albin Michel, the book combines science and fantasy to offer a spiritualist version of imminent death experiences. The word, «Thanatonaute» is a combination of two Greek roots, «Thanato» meaning «death» and «naute» meaning «navigator, or literally, «the navigator of death.» Bernard Werber states that he produced several of the book’s chapters using automatic writing. Which means without having the intention of using the story in a plot, he let his fingers work as they wished on the keyboard. Then he reread it to find out what he had written!

the artist: ALAN CARIDDI

Alan Cariddi’s paintings and sketches reflect the universal language of geometry that is omnipresent worldwide, from the infinitely small to the colossal. The artist tries to create a space into which the spectator is invited to enter to become lost in a voyage in time and space. Alan Cariddi participates in “Les Livres à deux places» exposition because he thinks that the project is original, ambitious and very important since people no longer take the time to read in the modern world where we live. He was personally very touched after reading the book, Les Thanatonautes and has been a big fan of Bernard Werber’s works ever since. The artist hopes that his work will encourage people to discover the book, the author and to enjoy reading.