Around one million Japanese have so far visited the 10,000 square metre Museum of Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince, opened in 1999 in Hakone, which recounts the life of Saint-Exupéry and his most famous character. There is also a section dedicated to The Little Prince in the Saint-Exupéry Museum in Tarfaya (Morocco).
The little prince accompanies Saint-Exupéry on the statue erected in his honour on the Place Bellecour in Lyons (the work of Christiane Guillaubey), and in Toulouse (the work of Madeleine de Tazenas). He is the central character of a fountain in Agay (Var), and there is also a statue of The Little Prince in Northport (USA), where the writer crafted his tale. A plaque on the wall of the La Grenouille restaurant in New York commemorates the fact that the building once housed the studio of painter Bernard Lamotte, where Saint-Exupéry supposedly sketched his first illustrations for the book. Groups of Friends of the Little Prince are also very numerous, from New York where President Howard Scherry organises literary walks in the footsteps of Saint-Exupéry, to as far afield as Russia and Argentina. Rosa Maxit, director of the Saboyano cultural centre in San-José has organised a number of exhibitions to introduce the Argentine public to the foreign language editions of The Little Prince.
In 2002, astronaut Philippe Perrin took with him into space a copy of Le Petit Prince and a badge featuring Saint-Exupéry’s best-loved character.
As part of the year of celebrations for the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNRIC (United Nations Regional Information Centre) chose The Little Prince to be its ambassador for the Know Your Rights campaign aimed at making children better informed about their rights.
78% of French children (aged between 6 and 15) know Le Petit Prince and 81% say they liked the story. Amongst adults, the book ranks third in the category of « books that have marked you for life » (sources: Ipsos 2008, Sofres 2004).
Museum of Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince/h4>
Over a million visitors have already passed through the doors of the Museum of Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince opened in 1999 in Hakone, Japan, thanks to the hard work of director Akiko Tori, a fervent admirer of the writer. At the foot of Mount Fuji, a vast 10,000 m² complex welcomes visitors as they enter via a gateway that is an exact replica of the gate to the Château de Saint Maurice in Rémens where Saint-Exupéry spent part of his childhood. There they are greeted by a statue of the little prince on his planet.
After strolling along a typically Provencal lane (compete with restaurant serving the cuisine of the South of France), and then another redolent of the atmosphere of Lyons in the 1930s, the visitor enters the museum. Exact replicas of different places in the life of Saint-Exupéry have been created, and a huge collection of photographs and documents retraces his exploits as a writer and an aviator. On the first floor is a screening room continuously showing a film dedicated to the author’s legendary character, and another room dedicated to the many different translations of « Le Petit Prince ». The visit continues by way of Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry’s formal gardens and rose garden laid out in front of a life-size reproduction of the facade of the Chateau de Saint Maurice in Rémens.
Museum in Tarfaya
The Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Museum in Tarfaya was opened on 28 September 2004. The driving force behind the creation of the museum was the Mémoire d’Aéropostale association, founded to establish permanent exhibitions in the premises once used by the famous Aéropostale air mail line. Through its central theme, the visitor becomes aware of the « pioneering » nature of the early days of l’Aéropostale. Saint-Exupéry was Station Manager here in Tarfaya. A special section is dedicated to the author of « Southern Mail », in which one of the many tales he relates is how he acted as mediator to the Maures rebels.
The Mémoire d’Aéropostale association has opened numerous permanent exhibitions at the legendary destinations once served by l’Aéropostale: Barcelona, Casablanca, Nouadhibou, Saint -Louis, Montevideo and Buenos -Aires.
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After graduating in Sculpture from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyons, Christiane Guillaubey (born in Lyons in 1949) made a name for herself with her monumental works and urban infrastructure, particularly in the area of lighting. She combines her work as an artist with teaching.
Christiane Guillaubey won the competition organised by the city of Lyons for the design and execution of a monument in honour of Saint-Exupéry to mark the centenary of his birth. The imposing work (5.50 metres in height), sculpted from Carrara marble, stands in the Place Bellecour, in the heart of the historic centre of Lyons, and represents the aviator seated, with the figure of the little prince standing next to him, his hand on his creator’s shoulder.
To commemorate the fact that it was in Northport that Saint-Exupéry wrote « The Little Prince », a bronze statue of the little prince was unveiled in the gardens of the municipal library on 16 September 2006. The inspiration for the project came from Yvette O’Brien, a French teacher living in the United States for the past 35 years: on the day of the unveiling, she found herself in company with members of the Saint-Exupéry family and friends of the writer.
Born in Paris in 1903, Bernard Lamotte studied art under Lucien Simon. In 1935, he moved to New York and married Lilyan White Kent, widow of Twentieth Century Fox President Sidney R. Kent, as a result of which he became familiar with many of the stars of Hollywood. In 1951, Bernard Lamotte took US citizenship.
Lamotte was a great traveller, particularly to India and Tahiti, and earned a reputation for his illustrations in fashion magazines and for a number of murals in Manhattan restaurants, but most of all for the mural commissioned in 1961 by John Fitzgerald Kennedy for the White House swimming pool. He produced the illustrations for « Pilote de Guerre » (« Flight to Arras »).
Saint-Exupéry is said to have worked on some of his drawings for « The Little Prince » at Bernard Lamotte’s New York studio on 52nd Street.