Le Commissaire Maigret
36 Quai des Orfèvres
The Maigret Forum This is not a static website. It changes almost daily. The Maigret "Forum," an open bulletin board for notices, opinions, information and discussion related to Maigret and Simenon, has become the most active feature of this site. It's where new books, websites, articles and features are first announced and displayed, and includes an indexed archive of the entire past Forum... back to 1997!
Click here for the current Forum.
Here's a recent sample -
Maigret's Favorite Places
Bars, bistros, cafés and restaurants...
Maigret's favorite places
by Murielle Wenger
"It was good to see once more a real zinc countertop,
sawdust on the floor, a waiter in a blue apron..."
(Maigret et l'affaire Nahour [NAH])
In his indispensable book – almost a bible! – entitled Paris chez Simenon (Éditions Encrage, 2000), Michel Lemoine has catalogued all the Parisian places mentioned in Simenon's works, including those written under synonyms and autobigraphical texts. Therein we find the names of all the streets, avenues, and districts mentioned by Simenon, as well as buildings from hotels, cafés and restaurants, to shops, museums, ministries, hospitals and so on and on. We can make a tour of the capital, seen through the eyes of the novelist, and have a complete panorama of references.
It was with the assistance of this book that I was able to check my own research in the Maigret corpus, on the theme I've decided to treat at this time, to discover the cafés, restaurants, bistros and other bars frequented by the Chief Inspector in his long Parisian wanderings.
And indeed, when Maigret is looking for something to eat or drink, he goes into one of these public places, a bar, a bistro, a café or a restaurant. And while the latter may be exclusively reserved for culinary feasts, the others serve principally as thirst quenchers. Though if they happen to serve food as well, Maigret canʻt be blamed for giving it a taste.
To begin, Iʻve done a little statistical analysis concerning these places, and here are my results.
I worked with about 350 references to these establisments in my Maigret corpus, and the first thing we note is that the percentage of bars is the highest (about a third of the citations). Then bistros and restaurants (a fifth each). And finally, cafés (about 15%). However, sometimes these designations are interchangeable, the author referring to the same spot, sometimes as a bistro, sometimes as a café or a bar. And we can also cite brasseries (about 10%), which could be added in with restaurants, but which Iʻve kept separate, since the author himself marks the difference by reserving the more precise term for them. And I've counted references to the Brasserie Dauphine separately, since rather than simply a place for Maigret to eat, it has become a kind of annex, an extension of his office...
A phenomenal author and his phenomenal character
Georges Simenon was by many standards the most successful author of the 20th century, and the character he created, Inspector Jules Maigret, who made him rich and famous, ranks only after Sherlock Holmes as the world's best known fictional detective. There is nothing commonplace about the life of Georges Simenon, and he and his works have been the subject of innumerable books and articles. The Maigret stories are unlike any other detective stories the crime and the details of unraveling it are often less central to our interest than Maigret's journey through the discovery of the cast of characters... towards an understanding of man. Simenon said he was obsessed with a search for the "naked man" man without his cultural protective coloration, and he followed his quest as much in the Maigrets as in his "hard" novels.
Although most of Simenon's work is available in English, it was originally written in French. Simenon was born and raised in Belgium, and while Paris was "the city" for him, the home of Maigret, he was 'an international,' a world traveler who moved often and lived for many years in France, the United States, and Switzerland.
Because he wrote in French, and for the most part lived in French-speaking countries, most of the books and magazine articles about him were written in French as well. Unlike his own books however, many of these have never been available in translation. Because Simenon lived to be nearly 90, and left a legacy of hundreds of books from which more than 50 films have been made, along with hundreds of television episodes there is much to collect, to examine, to display and discuss.
This site takes Maigret as its theme, and Simenon as its sub-theme. There is much here about all aspects of Simenon and Maigret, but not so much about Simenon's other, non-Maigret books. There are full texts of many magazine and journal articles, including many translated into English here, as far as I am aware, for the first time. In this way non-French-speaking Maigret fans can now share, in a time-compressed form, articles about Simenon and Maigret spanning more than 70 years, as well as a forum for discussion and contribution which...
Enough. There's a lot here. Enjoy your visit. Come back again, and feel free to contribute to the Forum. Corrections, comments, and suggestions are welcome.Steve Trussel
Bibliography: booklists etc.
This site, first opened on August 29, 1996 as "Inspector Maigret," has spread in various directions from its beginning as primarily a bibliography of editions in English. The "new look" reflects various aspects of this development, but the bibliography remains a central feature.Counting Maigret: statistics etc.
For the forty-year period from 1931 through 1972, a new Inspector Maigret investigation appeared at the average rate about 2.5 per year: 75 novels and 28 short stories, 103 episodes of what has been called George Simenon's "Maigret Saga."
Texts: Maigret on-line
Full-length texts - reviews and articles about Maigret and Simenon, as well as new translations of stories, articles, (and even a novel!) which have never appeared in English.
Index to the texts and articles on various pages.
Articles from the Simenon symposiums, journals, program listings, and other not-Maigret-only Simenon material.
Gallery: Maigret covers and photos
Maigret paperback covers, postage stamps, theme music, locations... more.
Plots of all the Maigret novels and stories.
Shopping for Maigret: books on-line
The one-button, quick-links to the main on-line book dealers are still available, for shopping for Maigret titles.
Maigret on Screen: films and videos
Various aspects of Maigret on film and video.
Maigret on the Web: Links
Links to the rest of the on-line world of Maigret on the Internet.
background photo: adapted from "Two models for Maigret,
Commissaires Massu and Guillaume." [Ph. Keystone]
"Quai des Orfèvres on the Cité Island at night" [Jean-Pierre Ducatez]
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