move your mouse over the photo

«...the more than perfect Arnaud de Montsalvy ...»

text by Linda, webmaster
 creations by Frédérique

photos © linda compagnoni

...the light was turned sound to be heard in the audience...suspense in the air...and then with quick dynamic steps he walked into the spotlight…Pierre-Marie Escourrou known to us as the one and only ARNAUD de MONTSALVY. The valiant, noble, yet arrogant captain of Charles VII, brother-in-arms of Jeanne d'Arc and beloved husband of Catherine, Comtesse de Montsalvy. 

How did this webmistress, 25 years later, after the most popular TV-Series  Catherine, One Love is Enough was on French television, come to be in the same theater as Pierre-Marie Escourrou? Together with Frédérique her faithful friend, with whom she has already shared many unforgettable moments on the road to meet our dearest friends Juliette Benzoni's characters of her bestsellers, accompanied by our mutual lovely friend Magali from Belgium? 

When my website was launched in September 2008, one of my rules right from the beginning was to entertain all fans of Juliette Benzoni and in this case everything concerning what had or has to do with her books, especially my chosen one "Catherine, il suffit d'un amour"! "Catherine was filmed in 1986 with great success; new stars were born and had afterwards on their own fantastic careers. From letters I received, the main question was always: how marvelous it would be if Mistral could bring them news of the former stars, be it Claudine Ancelot, PM Escourrou, Gérard Chambre, Corinne Touzet, Pierre Deny, to mention a few... 

I confess that I, living as far as Switzerland, used to smile and think: "how can I succeed where others never did"? Little did I know then, that on the day I listened to my inner voice, to follow the  road to a certain place called: Théoule-sur-Mer, my personal fairy godmother had decided to send me on a mission! Which would let me travel further than I thought possible - conquer obstacle's in the way to meet people I had wanted always to meet in my day-dreaming.

We all know how certain events in life can open secret doors or certain roads, when we follow our instinct!  I am convinced  that this is why my road led me to Dreux on 2 December 2011, to watch Pierre-Marie Escourrou's latest play called:


During my sharing mails with Pierre-Marie Escourrou, concerning Juliette Benzoni's 91th birthday, he invited me to come and see his latest play, should the adventure bring me near his place! I have never told on my site, that Frédérique and I had already last year been very close in Paris (the tickets were already bought by us...!) to watch his play: Exercices de Style but due to the sickness of one of the main characters, the play was annulled. Pierre-Marie had informed me personally (exceptionally kind of him...!) of that fact and comforted me, that I must not "despair" there shall be surely in the future be a new possibility to see him play. 

How could Mistral resist the invitation of the noble Lord Arnaud de Montsalvy, known nowadays as Pierre-Marie Escourrou, actor, metteur en scène? I phoned Frédérique, told her of the news and it was obivious for me that we would share this new adventure together! Shortly afterwards Magali, the webmistress of Laurent Le Doyen's website, an admirer of Pierre-Marie's acting career on stage, happily told us that she would also come with us to Dreux to watch l'histoire du Tigre. 

On Friday 2 December, we met in Paris Gare de l'Est. Arriving from Belgium Magali - from France Frédérique and Mistral from Switzerland to take the road to Dreux for a new mission impossible! After our hugging and kissing we exchanged news between three webmistresses, already in friendly anticipation.

The weather was very kind with us, the roads not too crowded and before we knew it, we arrived in Dreux, precisely at Vernouillet in front of the « l'Atelier à Spectacle »! We realized that we were too early for the spectacle, but tried our luck all the same to enter the building. To our great delight we were able to enter, after we had explained that we came from so far to see Pierre-Marie. 

The modern building we see today was a former wood frame factory. In 2004 it took 16 months of work to show the scene as it is today. It has diverse workshop rooms, offers courses to adults and children and a hall with 950 seats for all kind of programs.

There is also a kind of "street café" with small tables and chairs and a snack-bar. Chatting and eating some snacks (wow, the cheese was so delicious), the time went by and we almost jumped up to go and enter the hall with the arriving spectators. Frédérique and I smiled at each other and said, yes... today we shall sit in the front row, enough of being too shy! Magali enthusiastically supported us in that. We sat down, tried to find room for our bags, which were filled with little surprises for Pierre-Marie (with whom we hoped to share a few minutes after the play) and the fan material we joyfully wished to take back home with his precious signature!  

A short while later, the hall was full up and I am sure, there was not one empty seat anymore. The light when off and the play began. Who else, than the director and only actor on stage , can explain to us what the story of l'Histoire du Tigre is about?


It was an absolutely amazing performance by Pierre-Marie Escourrou, who was dressed in a beautiful grey shirt and likewise pants. The way he moved on stage, he captivated his audience, who was spellbound by his acting and movements! Almost impossible to believe, that he was after all - all alone on the stage, fascinating us with his presence. During the last 25 years, his voice has not lost one bit of its richness, at one time, warm, cold, angry, comforting, teasing, caressing - in one word a pleasure and a special treat to be the lucky one who was able to listen to Pierre-Marie Escourrou "live"! 

Too fast the play was over, the lights turned off and a smiling Pierre-Marie disappeared from our eyes.  To return under a great and almost never ending applause, the star of the evening bowed, looking content and happy - returning again and again on the stage, to receive his deserved celebration - from an audience who did not want to let him go! We girls looked at each other and felt our hearts beat faster...the first part was over of the evening, what would now, hopefully follow, was an impossible dream come true!

Almost reluctantly we got up and let ourselves be moved out by the crowd into the entrance hall. There was no Pierre-Marie to be seen out there and afraid maybe missing him, I returned back followed by my friends. And there he came, wearing that unforgettable "Arnaud" smile.

I have already tried to describe in my very first report of meeting Gérard Chambre, what emotions go through a fan, when he is about to meet his star! Yes, of course Mistral is not a young teenager anymore as we all know, ...but friends, the man I was about to shake hands with, was the ONE MAN every admirer of the Catherine books, must always have been most eagerly to want to meet ! There stood I, hoping not to make a fool out of myself. But I worried for nothing, as soon as I told him my name, he hugged and kissed me on the cheek and the ice was broken. I introduced to him Frédérique and Magali. Charmingly he told us to go and wait for him in the entrance hall, so we might talk a moment and take some photos!  



Talking all together, we waited patiently for him, saying over and over how magnificence the play was...what an extraordinarily actor he was...what a voice he had, (even more impressive when you hear it in person)...and then he already walked towards us, smiling and thanking us that we came all the way to see him on stage as far as Vernouillet at l'Atelier à Spectacle. He had changed his clothes and looked very handsome. His charm ladies, is dazzling and unique I truthfully must say, I was more than impressed by his natural niceness towards us three girls. Not for one moment did he give us the sensation that he was in a hurry or that we asked too much when we took our photos of him. 


He treated us as if we were old friends - and just as with Claudine Ancelot, Marion Sarraut, Corinne Touzet and Gérard Chambre, we had the confirmation that indeed the former stars of the beloved TV-series must have spent an unforgettable time together in the years of 1985-86! Such wonderful memories they have of that bygone time! In fact, that is probably one of the reasons we are so nicely welcomed by them! It makes me personally very happy; to be maybe a tiny bit the one responsible, to reunite the former friends and comrades, after so many years - to all our great joy. 

Pierre-Marie (I could not resist to ask him, if I may really call him by his first name ;-)!!!) beaming he signed all our photos. My sister Evelyne, better known as LaLuna, was over the moon to receive back one of her creations with Pierre-Marie's dedication! We were also introduced to some of his entourage, a fact which made us very proud.  Other people were beginning to surround Pierre-Marie, a big thank you to that nice couple who had waited so patiently and who took the photo of us four with our Arnaud de Montsalvy in the was time to say good-bye, one last hug and a promise to meet again in the near future ☺☺☺ 

Dear Pierre-Marie, thank you so much for your kindness, for staying a moment with us, posing with us for photos and spoiling us with such beautiful dedications. Thank you again for all the incredible entertaining hours we were able to spent, watching you in Catherine. I know that you have a wonderful career still in front of you. My site will always support you, not just as "Arnaud de Montsalvy" but also as the outstanding director on stage I was able to meet in person at Dreux.

2 December 2011

© 2008 - 2020 design & text Linda Compagnoni Walther
non profit site
all rights reserved



change to French
Mistral's clips
the Montsalvy's
vers IMDb