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Writer from the Wolves Valley

2016-04-13

„You, who want to write about people, go first to the deserts, become at least for a while a child of nature, and then, only then take a pen to your hand“. Says the writer Francois-René de Chateaubriand through the boards hanging among the trees on the edge of the wood path of the Wolves Valley (Vallée-aux-Loups), taking you to the museum. On first Sundays of each month the entry is free. And not only the entry. Just behind the entrance there are coulourful posters and postcards with a note „free to take“. 

chateaubriand-01.jpgTurkish saloon, wooden winding staircase from a boat, old cupboards, writing desks, porcelain and bronze statues, paintings and pen feathers and wooden old boxes and cases, for toilet, for handkerchiefs, for sent and received letters, for an accordeon, for writing tools. Personal prints of the writor, politician, traveler and a botanist Chateaubriand.
 
chateaubriand-02.jpgIn Chatenay-Malabry Chateaubriand settled with his wife Céleste in 1807. In the Wolves Valley he found a refuge when he had to retire from a political scene after publishing an article critisizing the despotism of Napoléon. From a simple garden house he made a magical dwelling which breathes with his personnality even today.
 
Even the trees of a large park talk about the writer. He was bringing the seedlings from his travels and planted them himself. Lebanese cedar, plane tree from Greece or a cyprus from Louisiana talk about him till today. chateaubriand-03.jpgOn many places of the park there are boxes, boothes or holes in the trees in which you can find books. Books going from hands to hands, from one house to another, books that travel, people take them and bring other books, books talk about people and people talk about the books.
 
Books which make children calm while sitting in the tea room in the old orangery. Older children read, the youngest one comments the illustrations while eating the vanilla ice-cream in the tea-room called „Les Thés Brillants“ (in translation „Smart Teas“) with the statue of Chateaubriand, dozens of porcelain cups with flowers and birds, endless choice of nice smelling teas „Mariage Frères“. Everything is pleasant, service, good coffee, fresh orange juice, abricot tart is a marvel, golden croissants are nicely arranged on a plate. There is an old grammophone by our table.
 
chateaubriand-04.jpgClose to the museum there is an arboretum with a free entrance. Large exotic park with 500 species of trees and bushes, about hundred wooden benches, in the shaddow, under the trees, in the lawn exposed to the sun for taking a sunbath. We draw aside the curtain of falling branches of the blue cedar and find ourselves in a fairytale country. Slim branches with blue fir-needles fall on the ground and the water surface. The surface of its crown is 680 m², massive trunk holds a complex network of large branches and these branches wave with the slim falling branches. 
 
By the blossoming rhododendrons three women rest on the lawn, each of them has a book in front of her. People are sitting leaning against the old cedars, on the benches by sequoias, all of them read.This Sunday I have a feeling that books are everywhere. And while there are places in the world with trees and books, not everything is lost. At the place where Chateaubriand tried to get closer to the perfection.  „There are happy genies, who do not have to ask anything, they produce without effort perfect things in big quantities, I do not have a piece of this natural feature, especially not in literature, if I reach something, it is only thanks to a long effort, I change twenty times the same page, and still I am not satisfied, my manuscripts are full of corrections and notes, real embroideries, in which even for myself it is difficult to find a thread.“
 
Châtenay-Malabry, metro line B, stations Croix de Berny or Robinson
Arboretum: free entrance: 102 rue Chateaubriand, from October till March from 10h till 5 p.m. and from April till September from 10h till 7 p.m.

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