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,
an old friend, dear to our hearts! There are
many ways to describe that. Though
sometimes, we would almost prefer to keep
beautiful memories to ourselves.
However, there is no doubt, that I love to
share with my dear visitors and all the fans
of Juliette Benzoni, Frédérique and mine
latest visit, to
our phenomenal dearest friend Juliette.
We admit we love to call us now:
a fact which made our Juliette shake her
head, and give us a radiant smile! Of course
she had at the first instant understood, why
we chose that name!
Nothing escapes her, even if it seems a tiny
So les filles des grands chemins
arrived punctually at Saint-Mandé. JouJou,
pushed me and said: go ahead: "it is your
turn to ring the bell today"! Amazed we
realized that just like with a magic hand,
the gate openend (yes, we still have to push
a bit ;-) and we entered the Benzoni
courtyard. The garden was now full of
beautiful flowers. I had stopped a moment
and smiling to myself: "dear garden, I have
seen you now, in autumn, winter, and
summer"! The trees seemed to wave at me! 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 you can imagine our
enthusiastic greetings ;-)
We had so much to talk about, between the
obligate delicious glass of champagne! 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!! JouJou and I
had an agreement NOT to ask how the next
Couteau de Ravaillac was going to be! But
of course we could not resist,
yes we cannot talk of it of course! We
agreed, it is going to be just as marvellous
as all her other books! We told Juliette
about a new page Frédérique had made, where
her fans can send her photos, which we will
later bring to Juliette! She was again very
moved that she has so many faithful readers.
It touches her to the heart.
As we already know, Juliette Benzoni will
appear on television on 18 August on
in Stéphane Bern Secrets d'Histoire
and like us, our favorite author is looking
forward to it: „saying, no no, I will not
watch it" but we convinced her that she will
We were invited to enjoy a mouth-watering
menu! The dessert was so delicious, and we
were spoiled like kids on Christmas! We
loved that very much, while all the while we
had the most interesting topics. Our host
shared so many awesome news with us, be it
from bygone days or nowadays! Catherine de Montsalvy was never far from the subject.
During recounting again the story of that
awful movie from 1969 "Catherine,
il suffit d'un amour Anne disappeared
for a moment.
Anne had returned and showed us a souvenir
from that movie, which had made Juliette cry like a fountain! It was a
goblet like they used in the medieval times.
Celebrating the film with a fantastic
banquet, 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 another
rare object for Mistral the Catherine fan.
you very much my very dear Juliette. I am
always anew surprised at your generosity
towards JouJou and me!
- click -
It was our turn in the afternoon to surprise
her, with the song of "Catherine ma Mie"!
She was deeply stirred to listen to that
song, she had so long ago written. When only
two of the Catherine books were yet
published! I let her listen to it on my
iTunes, and I confirm that Juliette Benzoni's ears are still very much intact!
Excuse me again dear Juliette, just because
Mistral is a bit "deaf" in one ear does not
mean our Juliette is also. She had heard the
Ballad a long time ago, sung by a woman. It
was a premiere for her, to listen now to a
man singing the enchanting song and while
listening to Catherine, Il suffit d'un
amour, Juliette was moved to tears.
As a side note, I would be very happy if
that song could be recorded again. And I
would know the perfect performer to sing
that adorable ballad of Catherine, ma mie!
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 me 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
myself! The fact is that she told Anne, that
her girls were amazing that is for us the
I showed Juliette the Italian edition of
La passione di Catherine. As I had
imagined, Juliette knew at the spot a new
lovely 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, to sign her
very first book!
thank you LaLuna for this
We asked her with mischievous in our eyes,
how we must address her now. She is actually
a Countess by 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 we may still call her
of course Juliette!! But out of fun I told
her, that my family had made some researches
and found out that they had also once been
of nobility. Now it was her turn to tease me!
Just have a look at her dedication in my
Italian book of
Catherine Il suffit d'un amour II
What I do not want to miss to remark on
today is: Juliette Benzoni will
Mistral's 12 questions!
But it will have to wait until she has
finished the saga of Le bal des
Poignards! 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 friend, your
girls will come, whenever and as long as you
like us to be at Saint-Mandé, together with
you, Anne and not to forget 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 - 2017 Linda Compagnoni Walther