M.Gallet, décédé - 3
La gare de Tracy-Sancerre
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The station of Tracy-Sancerre in Simenon's time The station of Tracy-Sancerre, september 2003
Although the overall view is still the same as depicted on the postcards of the early 20th century, today the train station of Tracy is not a real station anymore but a halting-place where only a few trains per day stop.
Municipal hall and the school
"- They moved the body to the town-hall, hurry, because the autopsy takes place at eight o'clock.....
In the Town-hall itself, a woman washed the gray paved corridor with large amounts of water.
- Excuse me... The body?...
- Behind!... On the playground of the school... You can pass by here...
She indicated a door with the word "Filles" (Girls) above, while the word "Garçons" (boys) was reproduced on the other wing of the building." (6)
La nuit du
carrefour
La guinguette
à deux sous
L' inspecteur
Cadavre
Les larmes
de bougie
Vente à la
bougie
La maison
du juge
Mon ami
Maigret
City hall of Sancerre, obviously this is not it Municipal hall of Saint-Satur, this seems more likely
The body of M.Gallet is placed on a bier on the school's playground, waiting for the autopsy by the pathologist.
Again, all of this taking place in Sancerre is not very likely. To begin with, it is suggested that Maigret and Madame Gallet shift from the hotel to the town-hall on foot. To the center of Sancerre it is at least 5 km (3.1 mi) including a very steep climb to the old fortress town. This would take 1 1/2 hour to two hours, one way. Further more the city-hall of Sancerre is nothing like it is described in the story. It is a prestigious monumental early 19th century building and not like a village municipal-hall at all.
Maigret à
Vichy
l'Affaire
Saint-Fiacre
L'Auberge aux
noyés
Le notaire de
Châteauneuf
M.Gallet,
décédé - 1
M.Gallet,
décédé - 2
The description could fit thousands of municipal-halls, annex schools, in France in that era. The combination was very customary and in the light of the very Catholic background of the country, in a time in which co-education was inconceivable, even entering the school of 6 to12 y.o. boys and girls through the same door was regarded as sinful. Therefore, until the 1960's, one could find the separated entrances with the signs "Filles" and "Garçons" above, on every elementary school building in every village in France. Most likely this archetypal situation was transposed by Simenon to Sancerre - Saint-Satur.
M.Gallet,
décédé - 3
Le charretier de
"La Providence"
Chez les
Flamands
There is no municipal hall or a school in Saint-Thibault and inquiries show that there never has been. Because the hamlet is part of the municipality of Saint-Satur it is to be expected that the municipal hall and school of this village was meant.
These buildings fit the description much better. Although, at present the school and municipal hall are separate buildings. It is true that they are situated very close to each other. The school right behind the hall. (Remember: "Behind!... On the playground of the school...")
For more information on the localities go to the Travel Log.
The school of Saint-Satur, built in 1927 - 28
But maybe this was not the state of affairs in 1923. On the school building we find an inscription, saying: "Ecole communal de Garçons, 1927 - 1928". This means that in 1923 when Simenon and his wife Tigy were here, this school was not even built.
In view of the location of the two buildings and the typical perspectives of that period, it might well have been that the circumstances in 1923 were as portrayed in the novel.
Conclusions
The story is clearly not set in Sancerre itself but in Saint-Satur and the hamlet of Saint-Thibault. The estate of de Saint-Hilaire may be not as momentous as depicted and the municipal hall - annex school - situation is deviant from the present-day circumstances, but on the whole, once more, Simenon stayed very close to the authentic state of affairs. It is to be realized that he visited Saint-Satur and the surrounding area of Sancerre and Tracy, 7 years before he used it as a décor for this novel.
The most important location, the so-called Hôtel de la Loire and his immediate vicinity, where the murder is committed and where Maigret carries out his investigation, has not changed a great deal in over 70 years.
Go to: Sancerre
Images
From top to bottom:
- Postcard gare de Tracy : http://www.loire-france.com, tourist website for the " Val de Loire "
- Train station Tracy-Sancerre in september 2003. Photo: G.De Croock
- City Hall of Sancerre. Photo:G.De Croock
- Munidipal hall of Saint-Satur. Photo: G.De Croock
- http://www7.mappy.com Plans de Villes, MAPPY (MAPPY6-DOM), 3, Rue Danton, Malakoff, - F-92240, FR, Wanadoo, Adaptation by G. De Croock.
- Elemantary school of Saint-Satur, Photo: G.de Croock
Notes
(6) Georges Simenon, M.Gallet, décédé, 1930, from the 1974 edition by Edito-Service, Genève. Translation of excerpts, G.de Croock.
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La nuit du carrefour - 1, - 2
La guinguette à deux sous - 1, - 2
L' inspecteur Cadavre - 1, - 2, - 3
Les larmes de bougie - 1, - 2
Vente à la bougie - 1, - 2
La maison du juge - 1, - 2, - 3
Mon ami Maigret - 1, - 2, - 3
Maigret à Vichy - 1, - 2
l'Affaire Saint-Fiacre - 1, - 2
l'Auberge aux Noyés - 1, - 2
Le notaire de Chéteauneuf - 1, - 2
M.Gallet, décédé - 1, - 2, - 3
Le charretier de "La Providence" - 1, - 2
Chez les Flamands - 1, - 2