Admittedly, the carnal envelope took some wrinkles, but especially not the spirit! At the age of 93, a journalist’s sight and hearing are naturally diminished senses. But Philippe Bouvard has lost none of his sharpness when it comes to telling stories. Nor his sense of humor and his truculence to narrate past anecdotes or chronicle the news.
The proof with this interview, carried out in the salons of the majestic in Cannes, in partnership with Cannes Radio. Just before a signing of his sixty-ninth book, The Little World of Don Bouvardowhere this resident of Cannes expresses all his passion for his profession, for eighty-six years (yes, yes!).
Socialite journalist with a sharp pen, columnist, radio presenter, almost Balzacian character who has crossed our contemporary history with (im)relevance, Philippe Bouvard has made his life a theater of blotters, from which he has not yet lowered the curtain, nor put away his sharp quill.
Journalism, a passion?
I am not the only one to experience this passion, but it seized me very early. From the age of 6, thanks to an old printer uncle, I was able to put out a little magazine on very narrow pink paper, where I addressed my family, of which I only had members for readers. When I was 8, I wrote in a local school newspaper, then in high school, before creating the Kleber Digest during my military service in Germany, which made things much more pleasant for me after two months of rather painful classes. I will soon be 93 years old, including almost 87 years of journalism.
Written press journalist but also a radio man?
Yes, it is something more simple, normal and familiar than writing. Radio is life!
You were also president of Cannes Radio?
At the beginning of Michel Mouillot’s term of office, when relations were quite easy with him, he asked me to run this radio station. I already had a lot of things to do in Paris, but the mayor told me: ”When you come to Cannes, you will do some airtime and you will give your instructions to the staff.” It was a generous collaboration, free of charge, and I ended it sooner than expected, when I realized that Mouillot or his henchmen were charging traders for an interview or a visit to them. But it’s still a pleasant memory.
To Nice morningit was also fourteen years of daily chronicle!
My ticket has not stopped for a single day during these fourteen years! And that gave me a privileged contact with readers, which I had never had with the national press. When I was stopped at a red light on the Croisette, there was always someone to tell me: “Ah, very good your post this morning, I agree with you!”and people were talking to me about it all day.
You also had as a friend the former mayor of Nice, Jacques Médecin, who paid you clandestine visits during his exile in Uruguay?
We started in the press the same day, him for Dawn and me for Le Figaro. He was a charming boy but he had a weakness, like other politicians, he thought he was above the law. When he was appointed Minister of Tourism, he decided to tour pleasure houses around the world! Then he got into serious trouble, was forced to take a step back, but when he came back to France illegally, he came to see me, of course.
In David Lisnard, current mayor of Cannes, would you see a future President?
I met him when I moved to Cannes, and I discovered an exceptional man by his humanity, his culture, the attention paid to people. I am delighted that he has acceded to the presidency of the mayors of France, while waiting for better. But I am convinced that one day it will be installed at the top.
You say Little World of Don Bouvardo that it is a testament book. Really the last?
Yes, I already said that for the last four! In principle, it would be reasonable to stop, but I already have an idea for a 70th, which would be called: Branch of hell or antechamber of paradise? My sight is now as low as a waist that has lost inches, but I have the newspapers read to me, starting with Nice morningand times when I’m not working are times when I’m bored!
>> Philippe Bouvard dedication The Little World of Bouvardo (L’archipel editions, 240 pages, 18 euros) this Saturday, October 15 (4 p.m.) at the Autour du livre bookstore (17, rue Jean Jaurès), in Cannes.
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93 spring, so “86 years of journalism” for Cannes native Philippe Bouvard, signing this Saturday
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