text by Linda , 25 July
I suppose we all know the feeling of
"pleasant anticipation" for a happy event!
The joy and the excitement when we know we
are about to go and visit a special friend,
dear to our hearts! There are
many ways to describe that. However,
sometimes, we would almost prefer to keep
beautiful memories to ourselves.
There is no doubt, that I love to
share with all the fans
of Juliette Benzoni, about Frédérique and my
latest visit, to
our phenomenal Juliette, who calls us now:
Les Filles des Grands Chemins (according to
the fourth Catherine novel: Catherine des
arrived punctually at Saint-Mandé. Amazed we
realized that just like with a magic hand,
the gate opened and we entered the
courtyard. The garden was now full of
beautiful flowers. I had stopped a moment
and smiling to myself; I have
seen it now, in Autumn, Winter, and
Summer"! The flowers had a radiant
perfume and it felt like the garden was also
welcoming us back.
This did surely dear Anne, Juliette Benzoni's warm-hearted and sweet daughter.
Oliver the "boss" of the house,
ran to and fro, and his happy "woof woof"
accompanied us into the living-room.
Juliette got up and made us welcome.
We had so much to talk about, between the
obligate delicious glass of champagne and
sweets. We talked about her newest book:
La dague au
lys rouge and I just had to re-tell
her how I was able to read my very first
French book! Very theatrically on my part,
to demonstrate how I had the book in one
hand, and the dictionary on my lap! My
friend and I had an agreement NOT to ask
questions about Juliette's next
Couteau de Ravaillac. Of course we could not resist.
We told Juliette
that we were in contact with many of her
faithful fans, who sent us messages, so we
could deliver them to her in person.
It touched her to the heart to know that
from now on she would again be in contact
with her readers, as she was when she went
to many book salon events in the past.
Juliette Benzoni will
appear on television 18 August 2010 on
in Secrets d'Histoire
(with Stéphane Bern)
and like us, our favourite author is looking
forward to it.
We were invited to enjoy a mouth-watering
menu! The dessert was so delicious, we
were spoiled like kids on Christmas Eve. Our host
shared many awesome news with us, be that
from bygone days or events to come. Catherine de Montsalvy,
her very first bestseller, was never far from the subject.
While talking again about that
awful movie from 1969 Catherine,
il suffit d'un amour, a co-production of
France, Germany and Italy, directed by
Bernard Broderie. Anne disappeared
for a moment. She returned and showed us a souvenir
from that movie, which had made Juliette
« cry like a waterfall », as can be read
in many old
It was a
goblet like they used in Medieval times.
Celebrating the film with a fantastic
banquet (and an enormous budget!) all guests had received a goblet,
which they were able to take home. On the
bottom is an engraving with the text:
CATHERINE LIRA FILMS 1968. Juliette with a
twinkling eye said: "Linda, I present you
this souvenir to take home! Juliette knows
of course that I absolutely hate that film
- but hating or no hating, this is a
rare object for me the Catherine fan.
you very much my very dear Juliette. Your generosity
knows no boundaries towards us and we cannot
say in words how much we appreciate it .
- click -
It was our turn in the afternoon to surprise
her, with the song of
Catherine ma Mie,
the chanson back from 1965.
She was deeply stirred to listen to it
again. Juliette had written the words to the
song and the music was composed by Paul Amar.
And that at the time when only
two of the Catherine books were yet
published! She had heard the
Ballad a long time ago, sung by a woman. It
was a premiere for her, to listen nowto
Stéphane Bernard presenting the enchanting song,
Juliette was moved to tears.
As I have promised, I wanted to lift the
secret of Arnaud de Montsalv's father Amaury!
I explained to Juliette, that while reading last
Le Sang, La Gloire et l'Amour
two Bertrand du Guesclin, I stumbled on the
name of Constable du Guesclin's page
Amaury! Like it was to be expected,
Juliette wanted to see the book and where
the name was mentioned! For a moment I
admit, I was almost embarrassed and
anxiously watched her face, while the
thought crossed my mind for a second, now I
really have asked something silly! But I did
not have to have fears. She looked up and gave us that
distinctive Juliette Benzoni look we
have come to love so much. What she told me,
made me blush a bit, and you will
understand, that I want to keep it for
I showed Juliette the Italian edition of
La passione di Catherine. As I had
imagined, Juliette knew at once an anecdote to relate, when she saw this
glamorous image of herself. Actually, it is
a rarity I have gathered there, without
knowing it. It shows Juliette Benzoni
the day she went to her publisher Editions
Trévise, to sign the first time Catherine!
thank you LaLuna for this
We asked her with mischievously how we must address her now. She is actually
a Countess with the exact name of: Contessa Benzoni di Conza!
Learning at the same time, that the Italian
had made a spelling mistake. It says there:
Contessa Benzoni di Couza, instead of
Juliette smiled, and of course it is Juliette. But
just for fun I told
her, that my family had made some researches
and found out that they had once been
of nobility. Now it was her turn to tease me!
Just have a look at her dedication in my
Italian edition of La passione di
Juliette gave us her consent to share these
photos with you.
What I do not want to miss to say today is: Juliette Benzoni will
Mistral's 12 questions. I confess, I am always
very nervous, when I send out the questions!
Never forgetting, that I am not a real
journalist! But asking my favourite
author, it did need a bit of encouragement
from my dear friend Frédérique!
Today we want also
to thank Anne, Juliette's wonderful
daughter, for surprising us with those
incredible adorable photos of her mother.
One of them shows Juliette as a young girl
of eleven and the other as a eighteen
old girl. We know, these photos have
to our knowledge never been seen, except in
private. Anne, how can we ever thank you for
this stupendous gift
(thank you LaLuna for these
The Sunday, we had all awaited with great
delight, came slowly to an end. How happy
and touched we were, when Juliette
asked us:" when will you girls come again"
soon I hope?" Yes dear dear Juliette, your
girls will come, whenever and as long as you
like us to be at Saint-Mandé, together with
you, Anne and of course Oliver.
yours very faithfuly
« Les filles des grands chemins
Linda & Frédérique
I would like to send Frédérique
a big hug for this beautiful
about our magical weekend at
Saint-Mandé. Spendid JouJou, BRAVO
2008 - 2018 Linda Compagnoni Walther