Pierre Loti course in Rochefort
Rochefort is not very present in the writings of Pierre Loti, except for his diary. The city, however, was the birthplace of his work, with its landscapes, its lights, the boats on the Charente, the cries of sailors in the "neighborhoods". Discover the world of childhood and adolescence of Julien Viaud, future Pierre Loti, in Rochefort and his stops in his home port.
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1 the family home
Viaud and Nadine Texier, after Marie, the big sister (born in 1831) and the elder brother Gustave (born in 1836). The house was raised one floor to accommodate the two grandmothers and many aunts that Loti affectionately calls the "old frizzies".
Pierre Loti will always be very attached to this house and especially to the small courtyard "sunnier and airy and flowery than most of the city gardens" he wrote in his autobiographical novel "Roman of a child".
He bought the house from his mother in 1871 and transformed it little by little, setting up first an Arab room, a
Turkish lounge, Gothic hall and Japanese pagoda.
After acquiring the terraced house in 1895 (No. 139) and bringing together the two buildings, he created a mosque, a
Renaissance room and a Chinese room, giving free rein to his passion for decor and staging.
After the death of the writer, the house sold to the city in 1969 by the son of Pierre Loti became the Pierre Museum
Loti, opened to the public in 1973.
Listed in 1969, listed as a Historic Monument in 1990, then became the House of Illustrious in 2011, the house
is now undergoing a major renovation project.
2 Pierre Loti College
The college of Rochefort installed since 1815 in the former convent of the Capuchins, obtains the status of High School in 1880.
He then adopts a facade with three porticoes, in the spirit of the great high schools in Paris. The establishment, christened Pierre Loti in 1924 after the death of the writer, became college again in the late 1970s.
Little Julian, who hates homework and lessons, had been taught by home tutors. He hardly adapted to his classmates and teachers who "raged so cruelly against me during all my college years." Julien Viaud is not a brilliant student, "unequal" especially "zero" of his own admission in "French narration".
Despite opposition from his parents, he gets permission to enter Marine's class to prepare for
entrance examination at Ecole Navale, the specialty of the school.
He was received there in 1867 and then began his training as a naval officer in Brest, on the Borda, the training ship of the Navy.
3 The Temple
Sunday services. And yet - Pierre Loti writes in Roman of a child - a huge cold was beginning
at times to take me; especially at the temple, gray pallor was already coming down around me. "
Having lost all Christian faith, adult Loti only returns to the temple on the occasion of his mother's funeral, then
his sister, having always preferred to the Rochefort temple "the old temple of Saint-Pierre d'Oléron" where he still found, he says, "the true recollection, the true and sweet peace of the Lord".
4 Navy Garden
"A place ... as it should be" but "lonely every night after the sun goes down". He describes it in chapter twenty-seven, with a particularly cold and sad evening in May: "There was not a single stroller anywhere. The big blooming chestnuts, the leafy trees, the deciduous trees, followed each other in long threads absolutely empty; the magnificence of the greens stretched out for the glances of no one, under a still sky, of a pale gray and frozen. And the
along the flower beds, it was a profusion of roses, peonies, and lilies, which seemed to have been mistaken in the season and shuddered like us under this suddenly cooled twilight.
The Garden of the Navy exists since the creation of Rochefort in 1666. It was the Garden of the King which remains the memory in the garden of the king open today to the public.
After his retirement in 1910, Pierre Loti melancholy often came to walk there, contemplating with a lot of nostalgia, from the terrace, the declining traffic of the ships on the Charente.
5 Hôtel de la Marine
under the Empire and remains until the departure of the Navy in 2002. This building is today occupied by the
Command of the schools of the National Gendarmerie.
Pierre loti was assigned several times to the Préfecture Maritime, from 1893 to 1896 and from 1902 to 1903 as secretary or aide de camp of the prefect, which allowed him to follow the work he had done in his house in Rochefort.
6 Hôtel d'Amblimont (la Majorité Générale)
Loti was assigned several times during his career, Rochefort being his home port. In February 1881, when he had just been promoted Lieutenant de Naveau, he wrote in his diary: "Admiral offers me the post of
Secretary of the Majority "and a month later:" ... already a month past in my regular and monotonous life of
It is at this time that he wrote the Roman of a spahi which will appear in September 1881.
In 1883, when he returned from Tonkin (north of present-day Vietnam), he held the position of Sub-Aide Major "... the freest and most pleasant of all the posts of the port ..." then he resumed the Secretary of the Majority on his return from the Chinese campaign in February 1886: "It takes me back four or five years; the little garden, the office, the old little square. He is then immersed in the writing of Fisherman of Iceland, his greatest success.
He says he accepted these positions ashore to be close to his family. It was in 1886 that he married a woman
Bordelaise, Blanche Franc de Ferriere and his son Samuel was born in 1889.
Today this mansion belongs to the National Museum of the Navy, where is kept the model
of the Formidable, a ship on which he learned, in 1891, then in the harbor of Algiers, his election to the French Academy.
7 La Caserne Martrou
"I live in the Marine Barracks. This service does not displease me; I especially like the calm of the evening when, after the call of the retreat, I retired in my room which faces the old door Martrou ".
"This old door Martrou" was the south gate of the ramparts of Rochefort. Pierre Loti often spent there
child, with his father and sister, when they went for a walk on sunny days, or when he went
Wednesday night after school, at the home of friends of his parents, the Duplais, who had a country house
in Echillais, La Limoise.
It was during this first stay at the barracks that the young writer published in January 1880 his first novel to
success: The Marriage of Loti, by the author of Azyadé.
At the end of his career, he will be appointed to the command of this barracks "that he wished-he wrote-to have ordered before leaving the Navy". His wish was exalted.
Older Pierre Loti liked to walk around the arsenal and to the depot of the Fleet Crews:
his gaze lingered on a "certain room on the first floor of this barracks ... which he regretted harshly".
8 Monument Pierre Loti
It was not until 1950 (centenary of the birth of Loti) that the monument was executed after a subscription
communal but without the planned basin, for lack of sufficient funds. It is inaugurated on June 25, 1950.
The memorial consists of a bronze statue of Loti in officer's uniform.
on the bow of a boat: two frescoes on either side of gray marble represent, on one side
two boats and a Japanese woman and on the other, three women and a fisherman. On the reverse of the monument are
engraved the titles of the works of Pierre Loti.
- 25 meters of difference in height