Monday, April 02, 2007

Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne is not a place, but a person who lived during the second half of the sixteenth century. He was the child of a wealthy merchant in southwestern France, was well educated and had a public career in law and in the court of Charles IX.

Michel de Montaigne's tower home for ten years.

He is most remembered for his writing, mainly a collection of essays. His writing is said to have influenced the works of Shakespeare, Emerson, and Rousseau, among others. I've never read Montaigne, but Ken says that he is one of his favorite figures in French literature. There's a great statue of Montaigne on the rue des Ecoles in Paris' 5th Arrondissement.

A view from one of the tower windows. It's a corner tower on the walls that enclose the yard of the manor house.

Montaigne withdrew from public life at the age of 38 and isolated himself in his tower library on his estate for nearly ten years. It was during this time that he wrote his essays. His wife and family lived in the main house, a large manor/château, on the property, but it is said that he had very little to do with them.

Another view of the tower. This is the only part of the château that is open to the public.

After his ten years in the tower, Montaigne traveled around France and Europe. He returned home and served a while as mayor of Bordeaux. Michel de Montaigne died in 1592 at his château at the age of 59.

The view from the bluff where Michel de Montaigne's château sits.

If I remember correctly, the only part of the château that's open to the public is the tower where Montaigne lived and wrote during those ten years. We were greeted by a guide and given a pretty in-depth tour. We were the only people there, except for the guide, but she was really into it and I think she talked to us for nearly an hour.

9 comments:

  1. Yes, Michel de Montaigne's statue is right across the street from the Sorbonne. Tradition has it that rubbing his slipper before going in for an exam will bring you luck
    http://flickr.com/photos/bip/50046744/

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  2. I clicked too fast! Indeed one of the slippers is always shinier than the other ;)
    (that was me the first time)

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  3. What's with the pink turnips in your Image of the Week? Are they really pink? Are they that color on the outside too? Do they keep their color after you cook them?

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  4. I think those turnips must have been grown in fields too close to the nuclear power plant up on the Loire at St-Laurent. They definitely look radioactive.

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  5. Don't tell José Bové, but those turnips are o.p.m. - organisme photoshoppement modifié...

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  6. Ouah, Walt, j'espère que ton blog n'est pas radio-actif, lol !!!

    Ken, ce n'est pas malin d'essayer de me dissuader de revenir vous voir because la radio-activité dans vot' coin :-) !!! Bises à vous, les Gars ! Marie

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  7. Marie, il n'y a que les navets qui sont radio-actifs. Pas de soucis. ;)

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  8. Merci de me rassurer, mais, les soucis, y sont-y radio-actifs, eux ;-) ?!!! Bises. Marie

    PS (to English-speakers) : "souci" is the term we use for both "problems" AND... "marigolds"

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  9. Oh dear, you must have put up the pink turnips photo on April 1. They sure are pretty though...
    Sign, The Fool

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