New podcast out today! French author Colette has been a household name in France for more than a hundred years. Her father's old friend Henri Gauther-Villars “Willy” would stop by their home in Burgundy and return many times to visit the young Colette. Fourteen years older, he would take her to visit Paris showing her the theater, parties and the glitz and glamour of the city of lights. On May 15, 1893 they would marry and move to Paris. Colette was in a hurry to get away from her overbearing mother but things would not turn out how she hoped.
After a visit in 1895 to her former school in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye Willy encouraged her to write down some of her stories from her school girl days. Willy was a music critic and writer, or he at least took credit for others writing as his own. Colette wrote the book and Willy tossed it into a drawer for four years. One day he found it and read it again but asked her to spice it up a bit. Colette did just that and in 1900 it would be published under Willy’s name only as Claudine at School. It was an immediate hit and Colette was forced to write another one. She didn’t like the writing process, so Wily would lock her in a room to write each day. In 1901 Claudine in Paris debuted.
Colette and Willy would separate in 1906 and the relationships after that were filled with control and drama until she met her third husband Maurice Goudeket. Spending her days happily writing from her window in the Palais Royal she would outlast the war and her husbands capture and return and enjoy lavish meals in Le Grand Véfour.
Colette would die on August 3 1954 in her beloved home in the Palais Royale. Denied a Catholic funeral due to her multiple divorces she would be the first female writer to be given a state funeral. More than 10,000 people paid their respects and a funeral was held in the courtyard and garden of the Palais Royal. Listen to the newest episode all about her interesting life at La Vie Creative - Paris History Avec A Hemingway. Link in bio
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