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Linda 10.9.2009

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written by  Webmistress Linda - January 2011

I confess the day I launched the "Catherine de Montsalvy" website, in 2008 I did not imagine, in my wildest dreams,  that two years and four months later, I would be able to write a report on my website saying:
     The day we met Claudine Ancelot, the unforgettable and beautiful Catherine

As some of you might remember, in  September 2010 I was able to announce, that thanks to a dear friend of mine, Frédérique and I were able to get in contact with the one and only Claudine Ancelot, who incarnated our heroine Catherine de Montsalvy to perfection. Claudine had written to us that she would go through her "Catherine-Souvenirs" and she would happily share them with us! A thought which made my webmaster heart go almost wild! Imagining, seeing photos from the filming back in 1984 -1985, maybe some images no one had ever seen, or read some rare, long forgotten article? Claudine Ancelot of whom no one had heard or seen a photo for many years!

I remembered a sentence Pierre DENY (who had played "Jean de Dunois") had written to me almost two years ago:

J'apprends avec curiosité et interet que Catherine de Montsalvy trouve une 2eme jeunesse grace à vous. Bravo pour votre travail!

I have talked on my site many times of dreams come true. Like been sent lovely and fantastic and even at times funny interviews. Having the unbelievable honour, to call Juliette Benzoni my dearest friend!
Should it really be written somewhere, that I who always stayed young in her heart, should one day meet THE beautiful woman, who was for us, the more than perfect Catherine de Montsalvy? Fans, and I count myself also to them, have their own ideas how the heroine of their favourite book must look like! I may have mentioned somewhere on this site, that "Gone with the wind" has been one of my all-time favourite book, before I read "Catherine, one love is enough! I mention this, because when I saw the TV-Series of "Catherine de Montsalvy the first time, I was just like that ingenious "David O. Selznick, who was the director of the film version of GWTW! Being sure, I would find a fault with the way my dearest books, were made into a TV series! I watched and I was so impressed by Marion Sarraut's directing and of Claudine Ancelot’s  (..and of the other great stars in "Catherine, il suffit d'un amour) acting as Catherine. But was she really acting? For me she was CATHERINE come alive!

In December Claudine Ancelot and I shared some emails, where she told me that she would go through her material! I knew already that I would go to Paris on 6 January to meet my dear Frédérique, Magali and my friends of the "Laurent le Doyen fan club" and were invited to stay at Juliette Benzoni's home, to wish each other a Happy New Year! Whenever my voyage brings me to France, I love to believe, that the good fairies remember me - or they decide that through me and my friend JouJou, we can bring some happiness to others. I get ideas - and all of a sudden some unforeseen marvellous action takes place - -just like by a magic hand...!
It struck me, why not ask Claudine Ancelot if she would come and meet us while I was in France? A new email went in the direction of France and----------------- yes Claudine Ancelot  replied that she would be ravie to meet us in Paris on 6 January! I admit, my dear friend Frédérique, had to have a lot of patience with me! But she was delighted and excited just like me, to meet Claudine Ancelot in person!

I am sure, all of you can understand that for me, the Webmistress of the Catherine de Montsalvy website, this was almost too much of forthcoming pleasure! Over two years ago I had already been "over the moon", when Gérard Chambre had given me the very first interview for my website, followed by Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Pierre Deny, Corinne Touzet, and our Queen Juliette Benzoni. I must not forget to mention the lovely Isabelle Guiard, with whom I share a special memory, which I shall maybe one day reveal ! The kind and lovely guest book entry of "Marion Sarraut and the meeting with the hero of Le Gerfaut Laurent le Doyen.
I was so excited and thrilled... and that train on 6 January was travelling too slowly for me! Whenever my cell phone rang or a message came in, I said to myself; please not a message that the meeting was going to be cancelled!

When I arrived at the Gare de l'Est in Paris at midday, I was hugged by a smiling Frédérique, who had come to meet me! We smiled and said over and over" Unbelievable our favourite word when we go through such excitement. We met our other friends Magali and Hélène. We know what happens, when girls meet! It was Frédérique who looked at her watch and said: oops... we must go now...but don't worry I have got my GPS whenever I am in Paris!
I am sure you know what is coming now...oui... the GPS had decided not to work this afternoon! I looked at Frédérique, trying not to panic! But then, why would she panic? The girl who had no trouble to travel last year to Saint-Mandé when a tempest was on its way to Paris? Wood on the highway? Family, friends and also Juliette worried what "les filles des grands chemins" could do to avoid nature's power?
While I was trying to make that traitor of GPS work, we drove up and down around Gare de l’Est to find the way to our meeting place!Have you ever been to Paris around two o'clock on a busy Saturday ? Not knowing in which direction to go? I shall leave it up to your imagination! Then we missed the entrance of our parking lot! All the while we pretended, as if everything was fine - me thinking: "we shall be late, we shall be late! It took us a while to find a free place to park - and the watch ticked on and on! Great compliments to my friend, who stayed calm and even joked about saying: "You know what Linda, it will look better to be not too early! (but you must know that Frédérique, is one of the most punctual person I know in this world! I joke sometimes and say, you are just like the Swiss watches !


Finally we got out of the car, took our handbag and small presents for Claudine Ancelot and started to walk (the better word would be running...! ) in the direction of the exit! Out we came into the street in search of the cafe! The first thing we saw was the waiting line to enter! We looked at each other and laughed, just like two teenager, who have never been to town alone! We gave each other courage, overplaying the fact that we felt not comfortable, to be at least five minutes late. "Frédérique saying: "can you see Claudine?"  I laughed and said: no way to see inside, but who knows, maybe it is the woman right in front of us ! To my utter amazement, the woman in front of me, turned around holding a cell phone on her ear ( she told me later on, that she had tried to phone me..) - and I recognized her  "our Claudine Ancelot alias "Catherine de Montsalvy"!
We hugged spontaneously and our joy was immensely, to meet the adorable and beautiful Claudine Ancelot, who looked just as fair and beautiful as ever!

see 3 slide show with more of the fantastic photos
Claudine Ancelot is sharing with all her fans...

...slide show number 1...
...slide show number 2... number 3...

my dear friend Frédérique and I would like to give our sincerest  thank you to Claudine Ancelot - for sharing her "treasure" with all her fans thank you so much dearest Claudine, we adore you...

We sat down and ordered something delicious to eat and drink  and got to know each other. Claudine as we may call her from now on, is one of the sweetest and gentlest women I have ever met. Without wanting to exaggerate, it took us only a short time to feel as if we had known Claudine for a long time! The years gone by since "Catherine, il suffit d'amour was filmed, had not greatly changed her! We were overwhelmed by her gentleness, her willingness to share anecdotes with us!


There was an aura around us of happiness and joy. We did not even hear anymore the other guests talking - we seemed to be alone in a beautiful surrounding. I admit, we were spellbound by Claudine. She told us that she had started to read Catherine, one love is enough, as a young girl, when her mother used to buy everyday the newspaper France-Soir! The story of Catherine was printed as a "cliff-hanger" something which used to be very popular at that time! I could not resist and tell her that in my eyes, and Frédérique agreed on the spot, that she had been so perfect in that role! No one else could have played Catherine better than her, in our eyes and that of million of fans. I can already inform you, that Claudine has sent me Mistral's 12 question where you shall be able to read in her own words about the shooting of "Catherine"

During our meeting, Claudine smiled all of a sudden and put on the table a FOLDER! She opened it up and there lay, nicely and in order, the most stunning and some never seen photos of the shooting of "Catherine"! She explained each photo to us! Told us back stage memories and really amazing stories! I am sure you will forgive me, if I cannot repeat what we have been told in confidence! The more photos Claudine showed us, the more we began to realize what a real exclusiveness Claudine Ancelot was offering us! Some black and white studio pose photos I am sure, have never been seen by anyone! There were even some newspaper article's she had herself collected and of which she had made copies !
When the folder was empty, each photo admired by us, Claudine smiled and said: " Bien, this is all I have, you can take the material with you, and return it to me. Either by mail or the next time we meet! Honestly, we were astonished and very touched by the trust Claudine showed towards us! I do not have to repeat how honoured we felt by all this. I took the folder to me , smiled at Frédérique, who returned the look and I think in our mind we were already thinking, what all the fans of Claudine would say, when they were able to see this timeless and priceless treasure! A treasure which had slumbered on a save place, just like my very old Catherine paperback - who one day seemed to call me to re-read them again - for an important purpose!
At the last moment, I had remembered that I wanted to ask Catherine/Claudine, if she would allow us to take a picture. I had not been sure of that, since we know that Claudine Ancelot has withdrawn from acting! Without hesitating one second, she said she would be delighted to do that. So there I was, taking a photo of Claudine Ancelot, thinking at the same time, that I was dreaming !
She fulfilled also our wishes, to give us an autograph, signed patiently our own creations we had carried with us. One was to be for her fans, the other for us and even her signature on one of the DVD's of Catherine, we had carried with us.

Claudine Ancelot

Philippe Clay


Over two hours had gone by, without us noticing it. Almost reluctantly we got up and left together with Claudine the Café. All of us said affectionately good bye to each other - one last wave  - and our new friend Claudine/Catherine was gone! Leaving behind two girls, who agreed in one accord, that they had just spent one of the most beautiful afternoon in their life. 

I would like to give Claudine, my most heartfelt thank you, for making it possible to meet us. To share with us, and in this case all the fans of "Catherine de Montsalvy", her memories and unbelievable beautiful photos. Leaving in our care everything, which she has saved for so many years - to be shown now to her faithful fans after twenty-five years! Having the sweetness, to trust two completely strangers she had never met before! Dear Claudine, the meeting with you was such an unforgettable, adorable moment in our life. We shall treasure it and not exchange it with anything in the world. We wish you all the best for your future and thank you again for the enchanting afternoon you bestowed on us.

We confess, we really believed on that day, we sat opposite the beautiful Countess Catherine de Montsalvy.

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Translation of Claudine's message to her fans :

To Linda who through her passion, her work, her creativity and her will to go deep into things, helped to perpetuate the memory  of Catherine, who made us dream one day or another! Thanks for your kindness, your alertness   and your simplicity

with kind regards, I embrace you
Claudine Ancelot


translation of the text into English:

I am very touched that Catherine is still living in your memory. I was very lucky to be able to play this character created by Juliette and I am very happy that it made you dream.

I embrace you lovingly
Claudine Ancelot

January 2011
 Linda & Frédérique

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