Famous names

Architects, actors, painters, novelists, journalists, military men, sculptors, archaeologists…they all contribute to the history of France in their own way. Here are snapshots of some public figures you may not realise are Castelroussins.

Jérôme Legrand, 1746-1817

Lawyer to the King, Jerome was elected Deputy of the Third Estate of the Estates-General on the 26th March 1789. Following a meeting at Versailles on the 5th May 1789, the deputies went on to declare on the night of the 16th June that they were the only legitimate members of the Nation. It was Legrand who suggested that they adopt the title of National Assembly and this proposal was unanimously accepted.

Étienne Bordessoulle, 1771-1837

Etienne participated in a succession of Napoleonic campaigns before becoming a member of the Unobtainable Chamber in 1818 (first chamber of deputies elected after the 2nd Bourbon restoration) in his capacity as Deputy for the Indre. In 1821 he became Governor of the polytechnic school.

Henri-Gatien Bertrand, 1773-1844

This French General born in Chateauroux turned out to be Napoleon’s loyal friend. Appointed Grand Marshal of Tuileries Palace, he accompanied the Emperor in exile on Saint Helena, even organising the return of his ashes after his demise.

NapolÉon Chaix, 1807-1865

In 1945 Napoleon founded a printing works focusing on the railways. He published the first booklet outlining details of the railway network (96 pages, 0.50 francs) which appeared in 1847. It is commonly referred to as the "Chaix".

Maurice Rollinat, 1846-1903

His first collection Dans les brandes is dedicated to George Sand, his literary patron and guide. Fame quickly ensued and he went on to perform his own music and poetry in the trendy cafes of the Latin Quarter and Montmartre.

Albert Aurier, 1865-1892

One of the founders of the Mercure de France. He specialised in art criticism and published numerous articles on Impressionist artists, Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Ernest Nivet, 1871-1948

He studied sculpture in Paris under Rodin. Winning the International Grand Prize for Sculpture in 1937, he is particularly known for sculptures on monuments to the dead at Chateauroux.

Olivier Charbonnier, 1875-1968

A teacher passionate about archaeology, he was instigator of the digs at Saint-Marcel.

Jean Giraudoux, 1882-1944

Famous author of theatre plays and novels, he studied philosophy in junior high at the school Chateauroux which now carries his name.

Albert Laprade, 1883-1978

Architect and urban planner, he participated in the planning of Casablanca. He was responsible for designing factories and Genissieux Dam as well as the sanitation of the Marais district in Paris and the Chamber of Commerce in Chateauroux.

Helier Cosson, 1897-1976

A portrait artist, he won first prize at the Paris Salon 1923 for Woman and Fan. He painted portraits in Sweden and England.

Raymonde Vincent, 1908-1993

A writer and the wife of Swiss writer Albert Beguin, she won the Femina Prize in 1937 for her novel ‘Campagne’.

Jean Toulat, 1915-1994

Catholic priest and infantry sergeant, he made the first call for resistance on the 15th June 1940 in Chateauroux three days before General de Gaulle via 5,000 copies of a printed leaflet.

Michel Denisot, 1945

Journalist, TV producer and French TV presenter, he presented the show Le Grand Journal for nine years from August 2004 to June 2013 every night of the week on Canal+. He also carried out various management roles at Canal+, and was president of two football clubs including Paris-Saint-Germain. In September 2012 whilst continuing his work for Canal+, he became editing director of the French edition of Vanity Fair magazine.

GÉrard Depardieu, 1948

French actor born in Chateauroux, he first came to prominence in 1974 in the film Les Valseuses (Going Places). Since then he has become one of the busiest actors and brightest stars in the French film industry. On top of his acting job, he also is a film and theatre producer, entrepreneur and vineyard owner. He also directed two films. Gerard Depardieu has acted for some of the greatest French filmmakers including François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, as well as in Hollywood films (Man in the Iron Mask; 1492: Conquest of Paradise). He was also a big favourite of directors Maurice Pialat, Alain Corneau and Bertrand Blier. Appearing in over 150 films, he is the second most prolific French actor behind Louis de Funes.