“It is the image of a very happy, pampered childhood, but also of great sociability”

According to my mother, this photo was taken in 1981. So I was 2 years old and I am in the garden of the house where I spent all my summers until my late teens, with my family paternal. It is in Auvergne, or rather in the Bourbonnais, department of Allier. A place that is for me an identity, a link with nature and with what makes family, for better and for worse.

I was born in Paris, like my parents, but they met at the age of 14 between Saint-Bonnet-de-Rochefort, where the house is located, and the small town of Ebreuil, just next door, where my mother was on vacation. This little blond head, these very round and rosy cheeks, these clothes (which undoubtedly belonged to my big brothers) are those of a child who lacks nothing, who belongs to those bourgeois families spending the summer in their Villa. These French families who made their success in Paris, but for whom Auvergne remains a point of attachment.

“There were pellets on each volume: green for those who [son grand-père] had liked, red for those he had hated and orange for “to see”…”

This photo before all the dramas that marked me in my childhood represents a time of innocence and gluttony. It is the image of a very happy, pampered childhood, but also of great sociability, because we were 14 grandchildren. My grandparents are not far away, and it was probably my grandmother, who was called “Grand-Mi”, who gave me this piece of cake. She cooked for everyone, with butter, with vegetables from the garden, and the leftovers went to the dogs or the chickens.

We children were incredibly free. We played in the meadow, we went on our bikes to buy sweets at Madame Barbara’s or do small errands at the L’Economa grocery store… We could do just about anything, as long as we paid attention to the cars crossing the road. road. Under the big lime tree, in the garden, we all had a digestive or a coffee together.

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In reverse shot of the photo, there is the window lined with ampelopsis which opened onto my grandfather’s living room, with the walls entirely covered with books. There were dots on each volume: green for those he liked, red for those he hated, and orange for ” have “… A little later, it is in this room that I will make this crazy promise to him to read all the books in the world. And it was under the big lime tree that I recited Jean de La Fontaine’s epitaph that he had made me learn by heart to impress his friends and give me a taste for literature.

I look in the clouds, in this photo, and at the same time there is this gluttony. These are two qualities that define me well. Daydreaming because I read all the time, I’m at home a lot, I’m a bit offbeat – at the risk, sometimes, of misunderstanding… But, at the same time, I read and live with a lot of relish. It may be my capital sin, the one that can make me fall into all excesses, like in the 1990s when I used and abused substances less Catholic than my grandmother’s cake!

“La Grande Librairie”, on France 5, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. from September 7.

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