Sylvain Tesson

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Sylvain Tesson
Sylvain Tesson en 2011- P1160238.jpg
Born (1972-04-26) 26 April 1972 (age 49)
Paris, France

Sylvain Tesson (born 26 April 1972) is a French writer and traveller born in Paris, France. Between 2011 and 2018 he was the president of an NGO, La Guilde Européenne du Raid.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sylvain Tesson is the son of Marie-Claude Tesson and the journalist Philippe Tesson who founded the French newspaper Le Quotidien de Paris. His sisters are the actress Stephanie Tesson and the art journalist Daphne Tesson. He is a geographer by background and holds a degree in geopolitics.[2]

Travels and writing[edit]

In 1991, he crossed central Iceland on a motorcycle,[3] and then took part in a cave exploration in Borneo.[4] In 1993 and 1994, he toured the world by bicycle with Alexandre Poussin, whom he had known since secondary school.[5] The two friends then completed their studies in geography.[4] He wrote about the trip in 1996, in the book On a roulé sur la terre, for which he received the youth IGN prize.[3]

Again with Poussin, in 1997 he crossed the Himalaya by foot, a five-month journey of 5000 kilometers from Bhutan to Tajikistan. He and Poussin then collaborated on the book La Marche dans le ciel: 5000 km à pied à travers l'Himalaya in 1998. In 1999 and 2000, he and photographer Priscilla Telmon crossed the steppes of central Asia from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan on horseback. That trip led to two books: La Chevauchée des steppes in 2001, and Carnets de Steppes: à cheval à travers l'Asie centrale in 2002. In 2001 and 2002, he participated in archeological expeditions in Pakistan and Afghanistan.[3]

From May 2003 to January 2004, he followed the route allegedly used by Sławomir Rawicz to escape the gulag as Rawicz described in his book, The Long Walk (1955).[6] Rawicz travelled from Yakutsk in Siberia to Calcutta in India on foot. Tesson concluded the journey was plausible, though there are inconsistencies, such as Rawicz's claim of ten days without water in the Gobi. Tesson wrote a book with photographer Thomas Goisque based on this experience, Sous l'étoile de la liberté. Six mille kilomètres à travers l'Eurasie sauvage ("Under the star of liberty. Six thousand kilometers across the Eurasian wild.")

In 2010, Tesson undertook a project to live alone for six months on the shores of Lake Baikal in a rustic cabin during winter, about 50 km north of Irkutsk. In his own words, "the recipe for happiness: a window on Baikal, a table by the window." He recounted his time in Siberia in a book, The Consolations of the Forest: Alone in a Cabin on the Siberian Taiga. It won the 2014 Dolman Best Travel Book Award.[7] He also released a film titled Alone, 180 days on Lake Baikal (2011), directed by Tesson and Florence Tran. In 2015 he won the Prix de la Page 112.[8]


  1. ^ Board members on the website of La Guilde Européenne du Raid.
  2. ^ Sylvain Tesson Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, présentation de l'auteur sur le site des Éditions Arthaud : Géographe de formation […]. Sylvain Tesson obtiendra en 1996 un DEA de géopolitique (La Guerre de l'eau en Israël, directeur Yves Lacoste).
  3. ^ a b c Sylvain Tesson en bref, in Les Chemins de la liberté, Retour d'expé, page 47.
  4. ^ a b Sylvain Tesson. Écrivain français, sur le site
  5. ^ Sylvain Tesson 40 ans – Écrivain, sur le site
  6. ^ En français, À marche forcée, paru aux Éditions Phébus, Libretto, 2011.
  7. ^ "2014 winner". Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  8. ^ Claude Combet. "Sylvain Tesson remporte le prix 2015 de la page 112". Retrieved March 12, 2015.