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Tartarin of Tarascon

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Wikipedia article

'Tartarin of Tarascon' is an 1872 novel written by the French author Alphonse Daudet.


It tells the burlesque adventures of Tartarin, a local hero of Tarascon, a small town in southern France, whose invented adventures and reputation as a swashbuckler finally force him to travel to a very prosaic Algiers in search of lions. Instead of finding a romantic, mysterious Oriental fantasy land, he finds a sordid world suspended between Europe and the Middle East. And worst of all, there are no lions left. By a coincidence, Tartarin encounters a lion and kills him. Unfortunately, the lion was a mascot of the local military garrison and Tartarin is dragged in front of a judge. By a stroke of luck, he is released on a technicality and returns to Tarascon with the lion's skin to a hero's welcome.

The book was followed by two sequels: 'Tartarin sur les Alpes' (1885) and 'Port-Tarascon' (1890).


Since 1985, a small museum in the town of Tarascon-sur-Rhne is dedicated to the fictional character Tartarin. A festival is held in Tarascon every year on the last Sunday of June to remember Tartarin and the unrelated Tarasque.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

'Tartarin de Tarascon' has been adapted into cinematic form three times, in 1908, 1934, and 1962, with each work being titled after its point of reference. The 'earliest' cinematic version was a short, filmed in 1908 by the legendary and influential magician-cum-director, Georges Mlis.

The 'second' and perhaps most notable effort was the 1934 film, which was directed by Frenchman Raymond Bernard and starred Raimu in the role of Tartarin, as well as Sinol, Fernand Charpin and Charles Camus in other principal roles.

The 1962 film was directed by Francis Blanche, and starred Alfred Adam, Jacqueline Maillan, Bourvil, Robert Porte.

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