La Maison d'Alphonse DAUDET Visit the house where he was born, located in the Hôtel Sabrant, at 20, boulevard Gambetta in Nîmes.
Alphonse Daudet was born in Nîmes on 13 May 1840 and died in Paris in 1897. He is remembered as a generous man, full of solicitude for his friends, and in tune with his era. He was one of the first people to appreciate and stand up for the Impressionists. Although recognized rather late in life by his peers, Alphonse Daudet always had the support of Zola, the Goncourt brothers, and Maupassant. He was also one of the founders of the Goncourt Academy, which was officially recognized in 1903. Due to his premature death in 1897, however, he was never able to be one of its members. He was greatly admired by the public who saw in him both the generous and tender bard who sang the praises of an idealized Provence, as well as a French version of Dickens. Though Daudet was a novelist, storyteller, playwright and poet, he was only really known for his very successful works "Letters from My Mill", "Mr. Séguin's Goat" and "Tartarin of Tarascon". Letters from My Mill: This collection of short stories (or letters) by Alphonse Daudet was published by Hetzel in 1869. These letters were partly written in collaboration with Paul Arène between 1866 and 1869. They were first published in the press (Le Figaro, L'Evènement, Le Bien Public). Only 19 letters appeared in the original edition, but the same publisher issued a second edition in 1879 containing 24 letters. The principal charm of this collection is how it makes the scents of Southern France and the picturesque characters living there come alive: the food-loving priest, the poet, the shepherd, the lover, the fife player, stagecoach travellers, and so on. In this collection, Daudet manages to combine tenderness with malice. He gently mocks the funny little habits of a pope in Avignon, lazy customs officers, an epicurean priest, and a woman of easy virtues to name just a few. These letters, written in the first person, are preceded by a foreword that tells of the narrator's purchase of the mill and his settling down there. Alphonse Daudet's mill: During his stays in Fontvieille, Alphonse Daudet liked to unwind by listening to the singing of the cicadas. One day, he decided he wanted to buy a mill, but this never materialized into anything: "My mill never belonged to me. That didn't stop me from spending hour after hour there, dreaming, reminiscing, until the winter sun would set between the small treeless hills, filling in the hollows like molten metal, a smouldering stream of gold".