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


 


 

text by Linda, 26.9.2010
Once upon a time there were two girls who loved reading historical novels, by a certain Juliette Benzoni! One of them lived in the land of the famous Sun King, the other far away over the seven mountains, where they say there exists the best chocolate in the world ☺ Not knowing from each other, they shared the same passion - and destiny had it, that they should meet one day! To share a soul mates deep friendship.  Laughter on a phone! Excitement in the air with mails! Embraces after a long train trip - to stand anew on a Sunday, before the gates in  Saint-Mandé, at their beloved's friends Juliette and Anne's house!
I had ended the last report with letting you know Juliette's Benzoni wish, to see us again soon ! She suggested September and with joy in our hearts, we already started planning when we entered the car and returned home!
This September, almost one month before our first anniversary of our with meeting with Juliette Benzoni in person - our car found its direction Paris - Saint-Mandé. We were to meet also Hélène-Danette, a passionate Le Gerfaut-fan who sometimes bestows me with beautiful creations of our Catherine, Arnaud and Juliette! She came into contact with me, through Frédérique, who herself an admirer of Le Gerfaut, had seen Hélène’s and Romy Sersour Vincent de Ligny (a dear friend of mine, from my fan meeting last May at Versailles) "l'Exposition sur le feuilleton du Gerfaut a eu lieu on Sabrina's enchanting website Le Gerfaut. Juliette Benzoni was delighted to meet another of her faithful fans who, nota bene has read  ALL of Juliette Benzoni's books!
 

 

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the magnificent création by Hélène
merci beaucoup chère Danette
what beautiful memory for all three of us

It was my first meeting in person with Danette, whose nickname is her secret, naturally known to all of us. She is a charming and lovely girl and we understood each other at the very first moment.
The three Benzonettes, rang the bell and the gate opened, after a soft voice called: come in! Oliver my big white beautiful hairy friend came, running and let himself first be caressed by us!
 


 


We entered; to embrace happily our dear friend Anne, who I am sure, tried to hide her feelings to see again "les filles des grands chemins after almost two months! Like children at Christmas, who cannot wait until Christmas Eve, I already walked into the now familiar living room, to go straight to our dearest Juliette! Can there anything be more delightful, like dear friends seeing each other after a seemingly  long time? There was laughter in the air, happy faces, gifts opened up, ah's oh's from all sites to be heard! Our Juliette saying to us: " Girls, no, you should not spoil me so much", admiring a very beautiful "Shield of France" with three lilies (blason de France aux 3 fleurs de lys") on it, presented by Hèléne, smiling at Frédérique for bringing her, her favourite biscuits of Fossier and a chuckle on her beautiful face, that Mistral had brought her those famous Swiss chocolates from "Sprüngli"! That well-known shop in Zürich, Switzerland, which Juliette has mentioned in "L'Anneau d'Atlantide" the latest book of her bestseller Aldo Morosini!

 






After the first joyous excitement, we sat down and Anne already served us a delicious bread, filled with all kinds of different flavours, followed by a sparkling Rosé Champagne from Reims. Between chatting, eating, drinking and laughter, we exchanged news with Juliette. Frédérique showed her some new creations she had done for her Blog. I was very happy to bring her greetings, from her faithful fans all over the world. Even if I may have said this before, Juliette Benzoni is deeply touched by the love her readers offer her! She sends every one of you all her heartfelt gratitude and profound thank you.
She has begun writing the 11th Aldo Morosini, a series for which she has a deep pleasure, as she told us. She presented me also with the answers to the interview I had asked by our last visit. I looked at the sheets, thinking for the hundredth time, it cannot really be that "Juliette Benzoni" my beloved writer of all time, has answered,  my questions! We were most curious to know what her answer to question number
twelve would be.


If you had a wish free, which of the fictive characters you created
 so far, or which personality would you like to be for a day?


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I recommend all Juliette Benzoni's readers, friends, critics, journalists and future-to-be writers, to go and read her outstanding answers! Cautiously I had asked my dearest Juliette, what she thought of Mistral's questions ;-) !! She gave me that look which I have come to love and said: „they are good questions and you can ask anytime more if you like" - smiling at Frédérique and saying that she could naturally do the same!
 








During a phone call with Frédérique, Juliette had informed her, that she had found something which could maybe be of interest for our websites! When we were now shown the "surprise", our hearts beat faster! It was a photo album, aged by time but in excellent shape! This invaluable album which had dozed for many years on a save and almost forgotten place - showed the foundation of Juliette Benzoni's Trophy of the Alexandre Dumas Prix in 1974. (Juliette received the Alexandre Dumas Prix in 1973) She was not only the founder, but also the president of the much acclaimed Trophy of the Alexandre Dumas Prix. She was supported by none other than ALAIN DECAUX, (a well known historian, and broadcast moderator on French TV, for his documentation on history) and president of "the Association Friends of Alexandre Dumas". 
 We were looking at some of the Trophy winners, like the famous and unforgettable French actor "Jean Marais" of many very popular movies like: The Captain (by André Hunebelle), (Mistral's first movie she watched in cinema, about Chevaliers and the French Kings! ) The Count of Monte Christo (by Robert Vernay) or the The Beauty and the Beast (by Jean Cocteau)
I surely must mention our beloved and alas not with us anymore, Philippe Clay as Black Fish in Marianne, une étoile pour Napoleon, as Barnaby in Catherine, Il suffit d'un amour and as le baron Winkleried in "Le Gerfaut (The Lure of the Falcon). The irresistible Philippe Clay, played in three of Marion Sarraut's TV-Adaptation, after the novels by Juliette Benzoni.
The very attractive Jean Piat, one of the jury members of the "Trophy Alexandre Dumas", an acclaimed theatre director, actor, of the comedie française and a very good personal friend of Juliette Benzoni. (To the younger generation in France, he is known for lending his voice to Ian McKellen (Gandalf) in the Lord of the Rings series.) On one of those photos we see a young and very beautiful Juliette, holding the sword, which she presented to the newest Award winner. On another photo, looking breathtakingly in a dream of a dress she bought in Mexico! Apart of the documents of the founding of the "Alexandre Dumas Prix" there is more awesome material.


We were invited to lunch at the beautifully decorated table in the dining-room. I am sure I speak also for Frédérique and Hélène, being guests in the house of Juliette and Anne, is a unforgettable event! Not only does it look like we are at Versailles, at King Louis XIV table, also everything is prepared with so much love, be it the food, the vine and the decoration of the table, with is beautiful dishes and glasses!
 When we were served dessert, I experienced a big and stunning surprise! Juliette and Anne, who knew that I had had celebrated my birthday at the beginning of September - had gone to buy me a birthday cake at the famous LeNôtre! A candle was even lit and Mistral had much difficulty, to hold back her tears! What can I say, else then: „thank you so much, my very dearest Juliette and Anne! You are such remarkable and astounding women"! It is for me to say now: "how did I deserve all that"?
 
Like all the previous meetings with Juliette, time went by too fast for us. She affirmed again, that she would very much like to write an Eight Catherine book, saying that she hoped that God granted her that wish. I am sure that all of us, who are "Catherine de Montsalvy" fans, have rejoiced about that NEWS!! I admit, it has not been easy for me, these last eleven months, to keep quiet about this sensational, never expected magnificence tidings! How many times, has Mistral, and I am convinced, million of faithful Catherine de Montsalvy readers, asked themselves: „what could have happened after the end of "La Dame de Montsalvy? What new troubles could have awaited our heroine? Did she meet again Duke Philippe? What became of her daughter Isabelle, who seemed to have inherited her father’s fierce and proud character? Did little Michel de Montsalvy go to his godfather Xaintrailles to become a knight? Or did he enter as a page into the household of Bernard d'Armagnac?

 
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Do I know already something about it? I wish you could see the smile on my face now sorry, yes and no... But...yes...! But as a rule, Juliette Benzoni does not tell the story before it is written! Me? I shall be one of the happiest people on earth, the day I can hold that book in my hands! And I will not go to the famous bookstore in Zürich and ask: "excuse me Madame, do you have the newest Catherine book of Juliette Benzoni in English or German? NO, I shall read it in French, and this time, I can be certain, it will not be abridged! And maybe - I can finally find a English publisher in this world, who will answer my letters - now that I can say: „Dear Sirs, let me inform you, that there shall be an Eight Catherine de Montsalvy book, an excellent occasion, to translate NOW the seventh book La Dame de Montsalvy. The only book of the series never published into English and many other languages...
 
The moment had come and we girls got up. Anne came to me and she had this radiant smile on her face, while she pressed something into my hand. It was some of those delicious "Bisquits Apéritifs“ Oboles de Lucerne I just love them and Anne knows this ;-) With a happy but also melancholic heart, we hugged and kissed each other and waved good-bye to our dear Juliette. We promised to come soon again! Dearest Anne accompanied us to the gate, a last affectionate hug, Oliver woofing around excitingly - and the door closed behind us.
The three of us walked slowly to our cars. We said au revoir to Hélène, hoping to see her soon again.  Frédérique and I entered our car and looked at each other for a long moment! Then as is our habit now, we said at the same time:

UNBELIEVABLE - INCREDIBLE - INCONCEIVABLE

 

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 LaLuna's beautiful for creation of my dearest friend Juliette


We left Saint-Mandé, each of us for a moment sunken in their own thoughts. All of sudden JouJou broke the spell, began to laugh and said: „no, we cannot drive on, let’s read the interview ;-) We went to the first roadside restaurant we saw, and while drinking a cappuccino, we read together for the first time, Juliette' answers to Mistral 12 questions! We both agreed that Juliette Benzoni had done all of us, be it "Les Filles", her faithful readers or the media, a very exceptional honour, with granting us this exclusive interview! Frédérique and I had a twinkle in our eyes when we said: and this interview is REAL and not modified! NO talk of an old lady and two cats on her lap, like a professional journalist had once the courage to write in an interview! I would like to end my coverage of our latest meeting, with our beloved friends, with my most favourite three words: To be continued....
 


It is always my great pleasure to send my dearest Juliette and Anne, my reportage of our meeting with them. My dearest friends let me say once again thank you from the bottom of my heart, for inviting us into your house. For bestowing on us your deep and sincere friendship - for sharing amazing material with us for fans all over the world. You are an extraordinarily woman dearest Juliette. I adore you not only for the ingeniousness of your writing - but also for your heartiness and love you offer us.


yours very faithful and thankful

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