Edmonde Charles-Roux

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Edmonde Charles-Roux
Edmonde Charles-Roux, présidente de l'Académie Goncourt.jpg
Edmonde Charles-Roux in 2011
Born Marie-Charlotte Élisabeth Edmonde Charles-Roux
(1920-04-17)17 April 1920
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Died 20 January 2016(2016-01-20) (aged 95)
Gardanne, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Nationality French
Notable awards Prix Goncourt

Edmonde Charles-Roux (17 April 1920 – 20 January 2016) was a French writer.

Early life[edit]

Charles-Roux was born in 1920 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, the daughter of Francois Charles-Roux, Ambassadeur de France, member of the Institut de France and last chairman of the Suez Canal Company.

A woman in the war[edit]

Charles-Roux was, during the World War II, a volunteer nurse, first in a French Foreign Legion unit, the 11th infantry regiment abroad. She was wounded at Verdun in rescuing a legionnaire.

Then she joined the Resistance, as a nurse. After landing in Provence, she was then attached to the 5th Armored Division, where she performed as a nurse but also as a divisional social assistant. She also served in the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment (1er REC) and the Mechanized Regiment of the Foreign Legion (RMLE).

Decorated with the Croix de Guerre, she was made Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 1945, and received the distinction of vivandière d'honneur by the RMLE at the hands of Colonel Gaultier, corps commander.


In 1946, she joined the staff of a magazine being created, a women's weekly: Elle, where she spent two years. From 1948, she worked for the French edition of Vogue, becoming the magazine’s editor-in-chief in 1954.[1]

Reading Vogue democratized luxury while giving access to the most innovative artists of the time, whether writers as Francois-Regis Bastide, Violette Leduc and Francois Nourissier or photographers like Guy Bourdin, Henry Clarke or William Klein, or designers Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. By combining ready-to-wear and Pop Art, she connected fashion with any other form of creativity. She left Vogue Paris in 1966, as the result of a conflict for wanting to place a black woman on the cover of the magazine.[1]


Three months later, in 1966, she wrote Oublier Palerme and obtained the Prix Goncourt; the novel was adapted to film as Dimenticare Palermo in 1990 by Francesco Rosi.

The same year that she won the Goncourt she met Gaston Defferre, the mayor of Marseille, and they married in 1973.

Charles-Roux is also known for her photo stories on the lives of Defferre (L'Homme de Marseille, 2001), and of Coco Chanel (Chanel Time, 2004). She wrote the books of several of Roland Petit ballets, including Le Guépard and Nana.

She became a member of the Académie Goncourt in 1983, and president in 2002. In 2008, she was part of the Commission headed by Hugues Gall and charged by Christine Albanel, Minister of Culture, with recommending a candidate for the post of Director of the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici.

In April 2010, she was awarded by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, with the rank of Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur.

Edmonde Charles-Roux died on 20 January 2016, in Marseille, at the age of 95.[2]


  • Oublier Palerme 1966 Grasset, novel, prix Goncourt 1966,
  • Elle, Adrienne, 1971 Grasset, roman
  • L'Irrégulière ou mon itinéraire Chanel 1974 Grasset, biographie
  • Stèle pour un bâtard 1980 Grasset, roman
  • 'Une enfance sicilienne 1981 Grasset, roman
  • Un désir d'Orient, vol I biography of Isabelle Eberhardt 1989 Grasset
  • Nomade j'étais, vol II 1995 Grasset,
  • L'homme de Marseille 2003 Grasset, photographic album
  • Isabelle du désert, 2003 volume combining «Un désir d'Orient» and «Nomade, j'étais» Grasset,
  • Le Temps Chanel 1979 La Martinière / Grasset, photographic album

English translations[edit]

  • To forget Palermo, Delacorte Press, 1968
  • Chanel: her life, her world, and the woman behind the legend she herself created, Knopf, 1975, ISBN 978-0-394-47613-1


  1. ^ a b (French) Edmonde Charles-RouxBernard-Henri Lévy website
  2. ^ Catinchi, Phillippe-Jean (21 January 2016). "Mort d’Edmonde Charles-Roux, journaliste et romancière". Le Monde (in French) (Paris). Retrieved 2016-01-21. 

External links[edit]