Alphonse Daudet and Fontvieille

Originally from Nîmes, this young Parisian journalist returned to the south of France driven by the desire to rediscover an atmosphere, an ambiance that he thought he had lost in the capital of culture and the arts that Paris represented. He was also driven by the invitation of one of our most prestigious writers, one of the seven legendary founders of the “Félibrige”, Frédéric Mistral, who welcomed him very warmly in Maillane.

Then he came to stay at Montauban Castle in Fontvieille during the summer of 1860, hosted by his cousin Louis and his wife Octavie Daudet (born Ambroy). Ever since, he would come to Fontvieille on summer holidays, the village being a true land of inspiration for the characters of his works. The last time he came to Fontvieille was in the winter of 1891, when he came to see his dear friend Timoléon Ambroy, who was very ill.

OTI Alpilles en Provence

Daudet, Mistral’s friend

This man’s charisma, and probably the way he described his beloved Provence with his southern accent, encouraged the young Daudet to return to our region.

First, he made a long stopover in Maillane, warmly welcomed by Mistral and the ever-growing circle of “félibres”.

Another invitation, this time from his cousin Louis and his young wife Octavie Daudet (née Ambroy), forced him to leave his new friends for Fontvieille and Montauban Castle.

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Montauban Castle

This mansion, which is the setting for many of Alphonse Daudet's novels, was above all a place of calm and rest for the author: "Blessed house, how many times have I come here, to take myself back to nature, to cure myself of Paris and its fevers..."

This superb building, with its monumental 19th century façade adjoining an 18th century farmhouse, was the home of the Ambroy family who welcomed the author during his stays in Provence. From 1863, Daudet and his wife Julia regularly visited the house at the invitation of Alphonse’s cousins.

Now a museum dedicated to the history of the village, Montauban Castle will feature, as of the summer of 2021, the prefiguration of a vast cultural project in which the permanent exhibition on the medieval archaeological discoveries of the area is already included.

Discover Fontvieille

Places to visit in Fontvieille

Le Moulin D'Alphonse Daudet
Mairie de Fontvieille
Fontvieille

Le Moulin d’Alphonse Daudet

  • Historic site and monument
Meunerie hydraulique de Barbegal
BIT Fontvieille
Fontvieille

Meunerie hydraulique de Barbegal

  • Historic site and monument
Aqueduc et Meunerie de Barbegal
Bureau d'Information Touristique Fontvieille
Fontvieille

Aqueduc et Meunerie de Barbegal

  • Historic site and monument
Moulin de Daudet
Bureau d'Information Touristique Fontvieille
Fontvieille

Moulin d’Alphonse Daudet

  • Historic site and monument