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Exhibitions Exhibition: Florian, fabulist

Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, (1755-1794), was a French dramatist, novelist, poet and fabulist, his fables being unanimously considered the best after those of Jean de La Fontaine. He was also Voltaire's great nephew by ricochet...

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Dates de validité

  • Du 01/10/2022 au 07/01/2023
  • Du 01/07/2022 au 30/09/2022


Born into a noble family dedicated to a career in arms, he was born in Sauve in the Gard and spent his early youth at the Château de Florian, in the commune of Logrian, near Sauve, at the foot of the Basses-Cévennes. His mother, of Spanish origin, died when he was a child and he was brought up at the château de Florian.
His uncle, Philippe-Antoine de Claris, Marquis de Florian, had married Marie-Élisabeth Dompierre de Fontaine (née Mignot), niece of Voltaire, in 1762. It was at the age of ten, in July 1765, during a stay in Ferney, that he was introduced to the famous writer, his great-uncle by marriage, who nicknamed him Florianet and referred to him in his correspondence as his "nephew by ricochet". He then moved in
He then moved in with his aunts and uncles who took care of his education in the Marais district of Paris.

In 1779, a first comedy written in the style of Italian comedies (Les Deux Billets), brought him success. The following year, he had Jeannot et Colin performed, a play inspired by Voltaire's tale. The satirical poem, Voltaire et le serf du Mont-Jura (1782), earned him recognition from the Academy, which awarded him a prize. In this work, Florian condemned serfdom and advocated its abolition. The same year, he returned to the theatre and achieved a real triumph with Les Jumeaux de Bergame.

With success came ambition: he embarked on an epic novel (Numa Pompilius) worthy of competing with Fénelon's Télémaque. It was to be a failure. He was elected member of the Académie française in 1788. Forced, as a nobleman, to leave Paris during the French Revolution, he took refuge in Sceaux. He undertook to translate and adapt Don Quixote by Cervantes.

In 1792, Florian published a collection of one hundred fables divided into five books, to which were added twelve fables published posthumously. This was his main claim to fame and the reason for his literary survival. His fables are unanimously considered the best after those of Jean de La
Fontaine. The critic Dussault (1769-1824) wrote in his Annales littéraires: "All those who have written fables since La Fontaine seem to have built small huts on the model and at the foot of an edifice that rises to the heavens: M. de Florian's hut is built with more elegance and solidity than the others, and towers above them by a few degrees.

The morals of some of his apologues are still commonly quoted, such as "Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés" (Le Grillon), "Chacun son métier, les vaches seront bien gardées" (Le Vacher et le Garde-chasse) or "L'asile le plus sûr est le sein d'une mère" (La Mère, l'Enfant et les Sarigues). As for the expressions "to light one's lantern" or "he who laughs last will laugh", they are taken from the fables
from the fables Le Singe qui montre la lanterne magique and Les Deux Paysans et le Nuage respectively.

One of the aims of this exhibition will be to show that Florian remains an inspirational subject and that his animal world still speaks to us.
Source Sitra

Tarifs, forfaits

Exhibition included in the monument's entrance fee.
Individual rate: €8 / free for under-26s from the European Union.

Dates de validité

From 01/07 to 30/09/2022, daily between 10 am and 6 pm.

From 01/10/2022 to 07/01/2023, daily between 10 am and 5 pm.

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