To come closer to the Lady (hope you appreciated the noble particle « de »). Well to visit Madame de Sévigné, you must drive South. Motorway, then scenic rural narrow roads, poplars in the wind but also from view, road to Grignan. Not in beloved Marseille, usual Aix-en-Provence or picturesque St Remy. Between tiny ravioli and nuts, there’s a castle upon a hill. Who is the master of the land? A mistress? You mean a women? A queen? No, a writer, and not a unsuccessful one!
Not really true, Madame de Sévigné used to stay there in the castle of her son-in-law and her beloved daughter. Mother and daughter were so close that it looks like a strong love story. A Close relationship they tried to enjoy, out of tune with one another, from Paris to Provence.
Love letters from the mother random life with some Versailles invitation, Parisian literature party with fabulist, animal lover La Fontaine. A life very different from what the author could have expected from scratch, when she was Marie de Rabutin-Chantal before her wedding with Henri de Sevigné. The Marquis couple doesn’t last very long as the Lord was killed during a clash of swords for a love affair. The young widow (25 years old), mother of two (boy and girl) started her life anew in mid 17th century. A cultured life with 1120 letters including 764 to her daughter, not in one year but 30, sometimes even twice a week minimum. Even from one room to another when there was a storm atmosphere in between, like a love therapy.
What was in it? Some meetings with friends La Rochefoucauld or Mme de La Fayette, some fashion issues or the latest royal gossips. Stories but with real historical values. But can you imagine that your mother’s letters would be studied in college or at university?
Personal writings are part of the French heritage since Lamartine, Proust, Paul Claudel or Philippe Sollers cared a lot about the writer, even Thornton Wilder and Virginia Woolf when Roger Nimier wrote a fictional love story between Madame de Sevigné and musketeer D’Artagnan. The international curiosity is striking at the castle among visitors. Between first leather book edition and wooden colored ceilings of the medieval stone which made the castle, it’s good to enjoy a large view on the terrace, a way to feel like the master of this wonderful Provencal landscape.