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Le Soir magazine
February 12, 2003

The Simenon Year

Simenonville remembers
Simenon in Paris
A star never honored
An immense œuvre
Simenon in the Pléiade
Treasures of the Simenon Collection
Intimate Memoirs of a son
His final residence
A life of breaks and changes
On the festival menu
The Simenon Production
They all played Maigret
At the movies, 57 films

original French

Georges Simenon the man

His final residence

Alain Van Der Eecken

Guido Marcon
Simenon's view of humanity was sharp and penetrating. Sometimes it was his own reflection he saw...

Who is this man at the window of this little house stuffed with sinister furnishings? The man with the tortoiseshell glasses regards an enormous cedar rising from the exact center of a patchy lawn. His look infinitely weary, in a few moments he will go to sit in a styleless armchair...

He possesses more than he ever dreamed of. Rich, he exulted in it. More famous than anyone else exercising the profession inscribed in his passport: novelist.

In his last years, refugee in a residential suburb of Lausanne, Simenon had rid himself of all external signs of his wealth. He who had boasted of having possessed some 33 houses across the world, luxury cars, servants, had finished by rejoining the universe of the characters of his novels, the crowd of little people, cramped into their narrow lives, rubbing gently from the windows the mists of memories to see who passes outside.

The house on the Avenue des Figuiers will be the last the writer knows, a strange, long and narrow dwelling, dominated by two tall buildings, the Vidy Towers.

Guido Marcon
With Teresa who was his final spouse.

It was in one of those towers that Georges Simenon and Teresa, his nurse, his governess, his final spouse, had taken up residence after having left the Epalinges house. The writer had come to discover that he no longer had the strength to give birth to his characters, to build them a world. After having moved into his duplex on the 8th floor, he asked his faithful collaborator, Joyce Aitken, to go to the Belgian consulate. He wanted to have his occupation no longer appear as "writer", but henceforth to be "without profession".

From the height of the Vidy Tower, he saw a pink house, a vestige of the residential zone found at the foot of the building. He wound up buying the house, after having read a newspaper article about the death of a family pinned by a fire in an apartment at the top of a building.

Simenon would spend his last years in this house, removed from the hodgepodge of notoriety, the flash of fortune.

It was in May, 1978, at the foot of the cedar that he scattered the ashes of his daughter, Marie-Jo, who had given up on life at the age of 25. This tree he regarded from his window until his death on September 4, 1989. His ashes joined those of his daughter.

tr: ST 2/07

Le Soir magazine
February 12, 2003

The Simenon Year

Simenonville remembers
Simenon in Paris
A star never honored
An immense œuvre
Simenon in the Pléiade
Treasures of the Simenon Collection
Intimate Memoirs of a son
His final residence
A life of breaks and changes
On the festival menu
The Simenon Production
They all played Maigret
At the movies, 57 films


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