Juniville (The Verlaine museum in Juniville )
A - The Verlaine museum Voir sur la carte
The destiny that took Verlaine to Juniville is the story of his life and his work. After a tumultuous two-year period with Rimbaud which took him to London and Brussels and led to his imprisonment in Mons, Paul Verlaine returned to the Ardennes to soothe his heart. At the Lion d’Or inn, he wrote and finished the collection of poems entitled ‘Sagesse’. He also prepared a virulent book there. In this anthology, he was to publish works by poets as yet unknown: Stéphane Mallarmé, Tristan Corbeer and Arthur Rimbaud. In the preface, he introduces the latter as the great genius of poetry. He was to give his work a name intended to shatter his image as a Parnassian poet. ‘Les poètes maudits’ (The Accursed Poets) was to become inextricably linked with the decadent scene and prove a resounding success. His poetry was finally recognised.
The Verlaine museum at the Lion d’Or inn, which bears the ‘Maison des Illustres’ label granted by the ministry of culture and communication in recognition of its connection with an individual of renown, is stamped with the presence of the poet. “I lived there for a long time, leaving remnants of my destiny.”
Guided tours of the museum and the inn a given by enthusiasts such as Marc Gaillot. The story of Verlaine has only just begun!
1 rue du pont Pâquis
Tel : 0033(0)3 24 39 68 00
Web : http://www.musee-verlaine.fr
Did you know?
The bistro and the church are all that remains in Juniville from the time of Verlaine.
B - Verlaine, the peasant Voir sur la carte
Today, the vast agricultural plains of Juniville seem unchanging and yet… at the time of Verlaine, wealth came from cattle breeding, not from agriculture… Because this land is chalky. Spades hit arid ground, whereas the soil in Coulomnes, five kilometres away, is rich and black. The enterprise was not to last long. As Verlaine himself put it: …
“Our attempt at cultivation ended in failure
And yet it was long my delight and my joy.”
C - Such a good teacher… Voir sur la carte
The search for the writings of Rimbaud took Verlaine to Rethel, where one of the poet’s friends taught at the Institut Notre Dame school. From England, he returned to the Ardennes, to this small city in the south. His first year as a teacher enabled Paul Verlaine to settle, to regain an inner peace. In the summer, he left for Paris to try to join Mathilde, his wife: five days’ travelling of which nothing is known. He was to return wounded, a changed man. The good teacher descended into hell, started to drink and lost his job. He was to reappear in Coulomnes, where he became the preceptor of a certain Lucien Létinois, whom he looked upon as his son … Paul Verlaine worked hard there, and at night he slept, overcome by healthy fatigue. His mother, happy, offered him a farm five kilometres away, in Juniville. But the land was not at all the same…
Did you know?
Along with Victor Hugo and Charles de Gaulle, Paul Verlaine was among the only Frenchmen to have had a street named after him during his lifetime, in Nancy. He was also the first artist to receive an annuity from the Republic.