Reports of the meetings with Juliette BENZONI
whom we met at least five times a year 2009 - 2016


photo de Mistral,Juliette Benzoni et Frédérique
31.10.2009 → here

03.03.2010 → here

Juliette Benzoni et les filles des grands chemins
25.07.2010 → here


Mistral/Linda,Hélène,Frédérique chez Juliette
30.09.2010 → here

Mistral, Juliette Benzoni et Frédérique - anniversaire de Juliette
30.10.2010 → here

Dédications pour les filles des grands chemins - Mistral,Hélène,Claudia et Frédérique
15.05.2011→ here

« It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work.
 We must feel and be affected by it
» Voltaire

text by Linda (Mistral)
Can I believe myself, that exactly four months ago, after we had met our most favourite author Juliette Benzoni the first time - I am writing a new report? That my dear friend of the French Juliette Benzoni Website, Frédérique and me, were invited to travel to Saint-Mandé last Sunday February 28th 2010 anew? The dream which began for Frédérique and Mistral last October, continues! As I had informed all of you faithful "Juliette Benzoni" readers, it was already in plan that we should go to our dearest friend Juliette soon again.

Juliette Benzoni had just finished her newest book
La Dague au Lys Rougewhich will be published on May 2010. When she called my friend and informed her of this exciting news. Inviting us at the same time, to come to Saint-Mandé, which we more than happily agreed to do as soon as possible. For weeks, we had been dreaming of that astonishing moment, when we should again ring that bell in front of the gate in Saint-Mandé. Nothing could stop us - but the "force of nature" almost upset our plans to travel in the direction of Paris last Sunday! We admit, the wind and the rain and the cold was scary... but then... with the help of the wind... we could travel even faster to arrive at Juliette and her daughter Anne's home!
We entered the house and... it was as if not four months had gone by, since we last sat in that beautiful living room with the large windows. With Oliver the golden retriever, who seemed to recognize us and wagged its tail joyfully. We were received like nieces, who come to see their absolutely most beloved aunt. With the now already obligate Champagne and delicious little nibbling, our newest unforgettable dreamlike afternoon began. We sat relaxed in the beautiful and  comfortable divan, gazing at our friends, we had not seen since last October. This time we had prepared some questions to ask Juliette. But honestly, did we need them? You can take my word for it, talking with this remarkable and wondrous woman, it is not necessary. She is so amazing in her profound knowledge of History facts - of her books - of what is going on in the world. Making a little joke about George Clooney for example? Wanting to know how we wanted our coffee? Never letting us feel for one instant, how immense her profound knowledge is of all she knows. Having at times, a touched smile on her beautiful face - when we got almost too excited in our eagerness, to know so many details. Be this in Frédérique's case about all of Juliette's books (and it is my turn to bow before JouJou, who has read now ALL of Juliette's 75 books!!) or in my case about our "Catherine de Montsalvy".


Like last time...we asked and were given answers...all the while dear Anne, spoiled us with a selected meal - coddling us in every fashion. And I cannot wait to taste next time the dessert from LeNôtre in Paris! Who was to bring that dessert again dear Frédérique ☺?

So then... what did Mistral want to know urgently? For some time, I thought it would be fun to know when Catherine or Arnaud's birthday could have been! Of course when I asked the question, I felt for a tiny second, it might be silly what I wished to know! But far from it... with her eyes, all smiling so wonderfully, we learned that the birthday of our heroine is on 27 October and that Arnaud de Montsalvy's, on 3 September! And your webmistress - let out a cry...or did I faint or just stare open-mouthed? Why, you might ask? I swear I would never tell the whole world, when my birthday is... but ladies... my birthday is on 3 September!! Our dear Juliette smiled and said, she always chose the date of her children for her heroes! I promise you, on my next birthday I shall toast to that "impossible, arrogant, handsome" Arnaud de Montsalvy ♥ and just in case... I always knew...that date was special!

One of my next questions I asked; who was little Michel de Montsalvy’s Godfather"? I have mentioned in the
Lexicon, that I presumed it was Jean de Xaintrailles and I was correct. Was it planed that there be right at the beginning seven Catherine books? The answer is NO... did Arnaud de Montsalvy return to war? Ah...this is a question we all wanted to know for how many years! We all know the answer, do we not? He could not resist the call of war... to join his friends Xaintrailles and La Hire. His love for war was stronger than his promise to Catherine..! How could a man in full possession again of his health, stay home in the little village of Montsalvy?
Last October I had told you that I know now how Arnaud de Montsalvy looked like in Juliette Benzoni's mind! With the exceptional permission of the author I can lift the secret! May I present to you, whom we can say thank you for having such a dashing, unforgettable, valiant and proud hero! Her husband Count André Benzoni!

It crossed my mind, that for our next visit, you can send us your questions and we will deliver them to Juliette Benzoni. I cannot promise if they will all be answered...but we can give it a try ;-) I shall take the best questions with me.
The afternoon went by and already it was getting dark outside. Like last time, we decided we cannot tell all we learned! I am sure Juliette would not mind...but what I want to share with you, is a newer photo of
 Pierre-Marie Escourrou and a brand new press article about Gérard Chambre's show at Maxim's, giving to me by Juliette. She is still very fond of the actors who played her characters in Marion Sarraut's TV-Adaptation’s and some of them are still in touch with her, a fact that makes her extremely happy.
 To our great satisfaction, we learned that Juliette Benzoni will soon be on television! We shall inform you of the precise date of the transmission. Frédérique was given a preview of the two temporary book covers of La Daque au Lys Rouge, Juliette Benzoni's next book - plus a short summary of the story. Can you believe the joy of JouJou? Knowing so early what the story is going to be about? What the names of the main characters are going to be? 

We would like to give Juliette our heartfelt thank you, for sharing all those news with us. Me, for the unbelievable present I was given, for which I am still overwhelmed after four days. I have the very great honour, to be in possession now, of the absolutely first Catherine (Il suffit d'un amour book cover!


small image  - click - large image

What can I say - I am still overwhelmed ! This unique cover will be put into a frame and I shall treasure it, like Gollum (Lord of the Rings) his precious! When I was given the book cover, Juliette told us that this was not her most favourite cover of Catherine novels. Simultaneous offering me her preferred  book of Catherine, Il suffit d'un amour! Sharing insider news, like the designer of the 1968 book cover, was none other than the same person, who painted for Juliette Benzoni the magnificence portrait of Catherine de Montsalvy! The portrait which has its place of honour in her house in Saint-Mandé! Needless to say, that my dear Juliette, presented me to my great gratification with another beautiful dedication with the 1968 edition
Frédérique and I, with mutual agreement like to share all these terrific happenings with Juliette Benzoni's fans all over the world. How could we be so selfish and keep everything to ourselves? Not telling Juliette Benzoni's faithful readers, for example that already three more books are planed? This signifies that the next two years, our adored author is very busy indeed!
 The hours went by like the wind, which was passing through Paris and the rest of France. It was again time to say good-bye to our dearest friends. We shall be welcomed with open arms very soon again. We embraced and waved good-bye and a piece of our hearts stayed with Juliette and Anne.

3 March 2010

Linda & Frédérique
« Les filles des grands chemins »
as Juliette and Anne call us

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