June, 1950
Summer in Manosque

In 1950, Pierre Bergé formed a special bond with Jean Giono, with whom he and Bernard Buffet were staying at the time.

The writer Giono was still living in Provence, where he was born and which served as his primary source of inspiration in his works. In his writings, he celebrated a modest life lived close to the land. Once rejected by the literary world, he ended up achieving fame in 1951 with Le Hussard sur le toit (The Horseman on the Roof).

He wrote to me the following: ‘You are the only one I love like a son and like my best friend.’ What I owe him is ineffable. He was my mentor, my friend, and my guide. He helped me discover so many things, had me read so many books! He was such a close friend throughout all those years!

Pierre Bergé, Les jours s’en vont, je demeure.

I had gone to see the greatest writer of the twentieth century at that time. What I encountered was a real family. With Giono, I experienced moments of such simplicity that are hard for me to describe. I would go to see him every morning, and he would read me texts. They were in fact passages from Le Hussard sur le toit (The Horseman on the Roof). I now know how extraordinarily lucky I was to have had a man like Jean Giono as a friend.

Pierre Bergé, La Provence, June 21, 2016.