Maîtres mots

  • Il y a longtemps que notre pays est beau mais rude.

       --Newspaper editor Olivier Séguret, 25 January 2012

    The USA are entirely the creation of the accursed race, the French.

       --Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), writing to Nancy Mitford, 22 May 1957

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French Freedom of Speech

Today the cheminots are:

  • "À nous de vous faire préférer le train!"
    "Voyager autrement"
    "Avec le SNCF, tout est possible"
      --Former ad slogans of the SNCF (French national trains), each in turn quickly dropped

Fun French words

  • ouistiti

    (literally: marmoset)
    Etymology: onomatopoeia from the sound a marmoset makes. Actual meaning: this is what you say in France when you want people to smile for the camera.

    Selon une étude réalisée par le fabricant d’appareils photo Nikon, le « ouistiti » utilisé en France au moment de se faire prendre en photo est le petit mot le plus efficace pour s’assurer un joli sourire.

Who's en colère today?

  • Private sector

    First strike in 43 years at an aeronautics company in Toulouse, Latécoère

    Public sector

    The SNCF (toujours eux), regional train employees in the Lyons area guaranteeing unpleasant travel from the 17th-21st December
    Also yet another strike by Sud-Rail, a particularly truculent SNCF union in the south of France, this time five days in January: 6,7, 21, 22 and 23. "We have no choice." Right.

    Marseilles trams on strike until February

Go back to school in Paris!

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Fascinating article!

Wow, thank you so much for that, I really enjoyed it! :)

Prezado Editor

Lendo seu comentário a respeito de Henri Charrière, quero respeitosamente informá-lo que já foi comprovado que Henri Charrière foi o maior farsante da literatura mundial.
Foram 15 anos investigando esse caso!

Foram realizadas quatro pericias a mais recente a dos Peritos Federais Brasileiros considerados os melhores de todo o planeta! Verdades que eles fizeram questão de divulgar em seu site, com este titulo: - PERITO DA POLICIA FEDERAL ENCONTRA EM RORAIMA O VERDADEIRO PAPILLON



Platão Arantes
Jornalista registro profissional 1.093 FENAJ
[email protected]
0xx (95) 81129898

My inexpert translation of the previous comment:

Dear Editor,

Reading your commentary with respect to Henri Charrière, I would like respectfully to inform you that it has already been proven that Henri Charrière was the greatest joker in world literature. I have been investigating this case for 15 years!

There have been four experts, the most recent being the Peritos Federais Brasileiros, considered the best on the whole planet! Truths that they insist on divulging on their site: Experts of the Federal Police coming across Roraima, or, the real Papillon:

El Dorado: The big lie of Henri Charrière

Blog Papillon

Platão Arantes
Registered professional journalist 1.093 FENAJ
[email protected]
0xx (95) 81129898

Excellent book but I did think he portrayed himself as a bit of a superhero. Now I know why - pure fantasy !!!!

in my opinion it doesn't matter if the book is pure fantasy or fiction, what matters is the effect it has on you. Papillon is an inspirational book which encourages hope and will, whatever the circumstances. Who cares if the stories are actually a collection of experiences of many people. Most of us will never experience anything of that calibre anyway. A second-hand account is more realistic than a fantasy, at least someone lived through it to tell the tale.

Irrespective of Henri Charrier's (Papillon)possible fantasy, the fact of the matter is, he indeed, alongside other prisoners of the penal colony suffered inhuman treatment at the hand's of a brutal regime; he was confined to solitary and he did many prisoners did not survive? Henri Charrier was without question a very, very tough human being, who deserves credit alone for his survival of a barbaric and despicable French legal system.


Papillon was without question a very durable person who had special vitalities that deserved him the recognition of a survivor.

QUOTE: 'Papillon is an inspirational book which encourages hope and will, whatever the circumstances'


Acompanhem os fascinantes debates sobre as teorias do livro de Platão no blog da deputada Surita, confiram : ( This post is a link to interesting discussions in a blog of a Brazilian deputy, where it was proven that the journalist Platão Arantes was totally wrong trying to discredit Charrière )

Aslında iki kitabı da okuyanlar kitaplar arasında bazı noktalarda uyuşmazlıklar olduğunu fark edecektirler. Mesela "Kelebek" kitabının sonlarında artık intikamından tamamen vazgeçtiğinden bahsederken "Banko" kitabının henüz başında sanki hiç böyle bir şey olmamış gibi anlatıyor. Ayrıca ilk kitapta çok önemli ve yer kaplayan bölümlerden olan kızılderililerle yaşadığı dönemden ikinci kitapta hiç bahsedilmiyor.Halbuki Kızılderili eşine tekrar döneceğine dair söz vermişti ve bunun için uğraşmadı bile. Tabii ki insan anlatılanların doğru olduğuna inanmak istiyor. I have written this paragraph in turkish. my english is enough to read this news but isn't enough to write my comments :)

I used Google Translate to understand a bit of what you wrote! It gave me this (I changed the phrasing to make it more English but it doesn't completely translate it correctly):

"In fact, some of the points in dispute between the two books will be realized by those who read the books. For example, in "Papillon" vengeance is now completely surrendered at the end of the book; talking about the "Reception" at the beginning of the book, it says no such thing has happened. Also very important, in the first book in the sections covering the period of his second book there is no mention of the Indians. However, the Indians promised his wife would return to [him?] again and [he?] even did not bother to do this. Of course people want to believe that the accounts are true."

Let me know if this is what you mean?

Thanks for writing in!

I am from India ( in Asia, not from the Indian guajira tribes Papi came across in the book). I recently read the book, and am quite enthralled by it. So much that, i started finding more information on Papillon, which is how i stumbled across this website. Whether Henri is not the real Papillon does not matter, what matters is the way the book has been written and the effect it has on you. Hats off to Papi!!

this book inspired me to become, as the author puts it:"a man equal to himself.(myself)." regardless of who did the actual deeds, i am impressed with the book, the man, the historical context, and most of all what i have gained from it.

The fact is even if this guy is lying its not hard to believe that this whole scenario is either true,or very close to the truth for someone somewhere in the world. It will always be a great story of man's endurance and capacity to withstand any amount of suffering. Never give up and you have a chance no matter how small it may seem!

I am from India(Asia). It's one of the best inspirational books of our lifetime. Who cares it's fiction or biographical. Book makes you laugh think and mores than that gives you a positive energy. What more do you need from a book.

As an Astrologer it is interesting to note that C Brunier was born in the sign of Gemini...

I had never read that H Charriere said the story was true to 75%. What he said it was all true apart from some minor memoryloss.

Continuing...H Charriere had both Sun and Moon in Scorpio. That tells people who are in to Astrology that this man lives trough his feelings. He even speaks about this in Papillon or Banco. It took several years of persuation from Rita and other people before he even started writing about his escapes and adventures. One special event in Papillon (the book) is when he want to take care of the funeral himself of a dead friend in the sea. He puts heavy changes of metal around the body so that the sharks wont start eating the body at the surface.

But that did not work and the sharks got hold of the body and swam around with it. This is mentioned by C H and he says that his friend where waving goodbye with one of his arms carried around with the shark under the surface. Now, I am not experts on shark but I think they move like this when they are eating. It is likely that this has occured. If you can understand this then the rest of the book is not so hard to believe. Its a fantastic story yes. But why do people say he is lying. Maybe they have boring lives. No passion, no drama. H C was full of that , and of loving to be free..

Live a life in danger and imprisonment for 13 years and its bound to happen many things. This prisons at those times is not the same prisons as are present now. Hence the many escapes.

A question? Is it bragging when he admits jumping from 8 meters and breaking both feets. No! Its the search for escape, the will for being free.

In 2005 in comes this C Brunier and claims he is the real Papillon at age 104. Silly talk.

My wish is they made a new movie following the book better. This escape in the movie when they are running in the jungle and one prisoner is impaled in the gut is not in the book for example. A new movie would be a blockbuster. Then raise a statue in honour of Charriere in Aubenas.

10 years after writing a post...I've decided to venture into French Guiana and the Salvation Islands... And although "Devil's Island" is out of bounds and entering onto the island is illegal... I'm sure I can pay someone at Kourou To take me there even for a few hours... Albeit if caught "hands cuffed!"
However, since reading Papillon in 1978 during my time in former British Guyana and during the infamous "Johnstown Massacre" my interest has propelled me into further investigations reading its sequel "Banco" and another book "Dry Guillotine" I've decided to embark on a further adventure into Trouble no doubt... But the rewards will be treasured! After my previous post 10 years ago my opinion remains Same... And with further evidence into what Henri Charriere had written and experienced... The fact of the matter is... He outlived a brutal and inhuman Ftench penal system that many thousands did not...! RIP Papillon!

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Today's quotation

  • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

      –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

    À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

  • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.

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