SIMENON SIMENON. ECHANDENS, IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE? Six years living and writing in a Vaud canton chateau

illus-57cMurielle Wenger wrote an article under this title at the blog site Simenon Simenon, here. Among other things, we learned that Georges Simenon, upon his return to Europe in 1955, spent a family holiday at Villars-sur-Ollon on the Swiss Alps, in the summer of 1956, devoted to one of his passions, golfing. And in an interview he declared he has weakness for la viande séchée des Grisons (the Grisons dry meat) and Vaud’s white wine. He’s enchanted with the markets of Laussane and Vevey and, particularly, he would like to find an 18th century house, in one of Vevey’s quiet and small streets, or a beautiful estate, not so far from the lake.

Finally, in January 1957, when he settled in Switzerland with his family, he ended up renting le château d’Echandens, a commune (city) near Lausanne, a few kilometres from the lake. Following some reconditioning works, Simenon moved to the castle in July 1957, where he will remain six years. Simenon will write there 12 Maigret, 13  “romans durs” and the first notebooks of Quand j’étais vieux. It is curious to note that the novels written there are not dated in Echandens, but in “Noland”. This detail has intrigued much Simenon’s scholars, and the answer to this question can be found here.

Briefly, Simenon had chosen Switzerland because it was a tax haven. In fact, in those first years of residence, the writer would have enjoyed a particular tax regime, obviously very favourable and this was the reason why he chose the name of “Noland” to indicate the name of the place in which he wrote those novels. In any case, as I have already mentioned before, I believe that the Maigret stories written there are among the very best in the saga. Coincidentally, this are the twelve titles published this year by Penguin UK with new translations. See my book notes clicking on the book titles: Maigret Travels (Inspector Maigret #51), Maigret`s Doubts (Inspector Maigret #52), Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses(Inspector Maigret #53), Maigret’s Secret (Inspector Maigret #54), Maigret in Court (Inspector Maigret #55), Maigret and the Old People (Inspector Maigret #56), Maigret and the Lazy Burglar (Inspector Maigret #57), Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse (Inspector Maigret #58), Maigret and the Saturday Caller (Inspector Maigret #59), Maigret and the Tramp (Inspector Maigret #60), Maigret’s Anger (Inspector Maigret #61), and Maigret And The Ghost (Inspector Maigret #62).

The attached picture shows Simenon in his car, leaving his new residence, the chateau at Echandens. (Source: Is Georges Simenon a writer? by M. M. Brumagne)

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