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This report is taken from PN Review 75, Volume 17 Number 1, September - October 1990.

Henry Brulard Alive and Well David Arkell
At seven on a summer morning the birds line up on the top rail of the Nouvelles Galeries. Already the waiters are putting out tables in front of the Cintra brasserie. (This is the Place Grenette in Stendhal's Grenoble.) Cleaning vehicles are sucking up rubbish from the night before, brushing and polishing the patterned streets. Apart from the odd van delivering bread, and a snake-like tram picking up people for work, there is no traffic. This is a carless zone and the streets have level wall-to-wall paving.

From my room at the top of the Hôtel de l'Europe I look down on the Place Grenette as from the topmost balcony of a theatre. At the far end I can see the monumental fountain which has been making such a deafening noise all night, like the waves of some gigantic sea - and behind it an elegant white building, three storeys high and five bays wide: Stendhal's house. As a mighty backdrop looms the friendly shape of Mont Saint-Eynard, part of the Massif de la Chartreuse.

Leaning on the balcony rail, I wait for breakfast. The shop below Stendhal's house bears the name RAYMOND CHRISTIAN in huge letters. It is a shoe shop. To pass the time I identify the second-floor windows of the hated Aunt Séraphie and the beloved Aunt Elisabeth - and those steps in the corner which the bayoneted man slowly mounted. (It was in the early days of the French Revolution and, when he ...


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