"In search of lost time"

“In search of lost time” is the title of seven volumes and several thousand pages written by Marcel Proust (1871-1922), by many considered to be among the greatest works of fictions ever written. The opinions may of course differ, but I’m rather proud to say that I have managed to read a large part of them – in French!  Last weekend I met a number of Proust fans and I have now promised to re-read Proust, maybe with “new eyes”.

Well, I didn’t lose my time last weekend. I went with some musician friends to meet other friends who have a country house close to a little village originally called Illiers. Marcel Proust spent some summer holidays here during his young years and the village appears in his writing as the fictional village Combray. The village was actually, thanks to Marcel Proust, in 1971, officially renamed Illiers-Combray.

After two days of preparations and final rehearsals – and a lot of nice time, good eating and drinking - a garden party (with a lot of Proust discussions) took place followed by a concert by a trio of friends performing Smetana, Chostakovitch and Schubert.

Here are some pictures from the village…

… and the park, named “Pré Catelan”, but which in Proust’s writings corresponds to Swann’s park and which originally was designed by Marcel’s uncle – who actually appears on a photo I found on the net.

The church of the village is quite remarkable. Built during the 15th and 16th centuries, its architecture is quite different. I was especially impressed by the simple wooden church vault, painted around 1685 – see top picture.

… and I could not resist against taking some flower pictures.


Alexa said...

Fascinating post, Peter! I have managed to get through (most of) A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (but it was many years ago). It’s on my Kindle — hoping to try again.

claude said...

Justement ! On envisage d'y rejoindre Catherine en juillet

Jeanie said...

Beautiful, Peter. And a fun time. And kudos to you for reading Proust. He's not easy!

Studio at the Farm said...

Lovely photos of a beautiful village! Peter, I must say, though I have read a fair number by French authors [in translation], I have not been tempted to try Proust.


dharmahum said...

Learning french by reading english/french versions of Proust is great but the lost time?