Piem, designer of the “Little protractor” and “The Cross”, is dead

The cartoonist Piem, who mischievously sketched the news in the 1970s show “The Little Protractor”, died Thursday, November 12, the day of his 97e anniversary.

“Press cartoonist, humanist”, Piem, whose real name is Pierre Georges Marie de Barrigue de Montvallon, also had “Worked for 36 years at Le Figaro, then at The cross », recalled his family in a statement.

“He’s smart, he decided to leave on his birthday, it was someone amazing, our father” cartoonist Barrigue, the first of his 7 children, told AFP.

La Croix had met him in 2012.


[Archives] Article published on February 26, 2012

Pierre de Barrigue de Montvallon, known as Piem, descends with a slow but determined step, with its aristocratic port, the stairs of the Noue, its house of Notre-Dame-d’Oé, near Tours (indre-et-Loire) . It is here that the designer retired definitively with Elisabeth, his wife for sixty-five years, for a very active retirement. He continues to draw and write every day in his vast studio in the attic of the old family house from the 15th century.e century, once a summer and weekend residence.

A fierce refusal to give in to old age

Dressed in cream-colored canvas pants, a green wool sweater and vintage white sneakers, Piem takes care of his appearance. Although slightly arched, her silhouette communicates her fierce refusal to give in to old age. He looks like the tennis players of the last century, Jean Borotra or René Lacoste, or those golfers he knows well. He has just dedicated a book full of irony to them, his latest opus, Golf enthusiasts, published in the spring by its faithful publisher of Cherche Midi.

At the age of 88, the cartoonist, who had started in the press at Christian witness before knowing his heyday at Figaro, at Unity with his weekly column “Dipapacéquoi” then to The cross, did not surrender. This close to the authors Gabriel Ringlet and Gérard Bessière, very friends with Noël Copin, late director of The cross, shines when he hears the word “Finally” : “There is no end yet, I have not said my last word”, he said, a mischievous smile on his lips, lighting one of his countless pipes, distributed between his office, the smoking room and the kitchen. Invited the weekend before this interview at the Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire book fair (Indre-et-Loire) for a drawing workshop, he was still enraged by the low attendance. “There were more empty chairs than people, it must be said that the hour was badly chosen”, he mumbles. With a thoughtful sigh, he adds: “At my age, that teaches you humility! “

“Carpe diem”

In the morning, when he gets up, he repeats “Carpe Diem” and above all, one of its many currencies, “Keep Piem! “ The designer gives himself up with good grace. He likes to talk about his experiences, his disappointments, human hypocrisy, politics too, his relationship with God, his engagement in the army in January 1945, honored with the title of cartoonist corporal. With the irony, finesse and humor that made this child so successful “Rickety and red-haired” of a family from Aix-en-Provence, the third in a family of five children, destined to live in the shadow of his older brothers “So strong and so brilliant”.

Between laughter and drama

This life force, the man of “Good bad mood” owes it to the tragedies of his life. Of the six children he had with Elisabeth, two died tragically. In the early 1990s, her daughter died of AIDS at the age of 28. He still remembers the day when Maria-Frédérique told him about her HIV status in a Parisian restaurant, “Shameful disease at the time”, just before a big rendezvous at the Lido in honor of Jacques Martin, with whom he participated for two years in the television program “Le petit rapporteur”. Stunned, he gets lost in the streets of Paris to the Church where he celebrated his wedding with Elisabeth in 1947.

A few months later, her son Vincent died at the age of 30 following a ruptured aneurysm. He also talks about one of his granddaughters who recently ended her life. “The consequences of Maria-Frédérique’s death were felt long after her disappearance. “ But above all, he wants to remember the happy moments of this family that “Always laughed a lot”.


November 12, 2013 will be “a beautiful celebration”

Having no memory of dates, Piem, who laughs at his artist name as follows: “Prodigious, Irresistible, Extraordinary, Modest”, has engaged in a pirouette, of which he has the secret. Looking to the future, he fully understands that we celebrate the bicentenary of his birth! Pierre de Montvallon was born on November 12, 1923 in Saint-Étienne, “On the banks of the Loire workers”. He enjoys having married and living today in Touraine, where the Loire was synonymous with royal splendor and prosperity. At almost 89 years old, he is also looking forward to November 12, 2013, the date on which he will blow out his 90 candles, which will give “Place for a beautiful party”.


Nashville on the rock!

She calls herself “Music City”, the city of music, and an electric guitar is her logo. The first glance confirms the speech. Posters of rockers in the window, neon instruments, vinyl and CD stores not found elsewhere, posters of upcoming concerts … The legend takes on its full thickness at the level of the pavement. Let’s rock!

It is true that all American musicians have passed through Nashville and Tennessee, a state that American imagery leaves to the “ass-earthy” with an accent to be cut with a knife. Elvis, of course, but also Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, The Beatles like the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Dylan and even our Johnny frequented the city’s recording studios. Rock and country music united in the same vibrato. Besides, with the production houses, they form an entire district that has developed around the legendary Studio B of the American record company RCA. A square marks the center with the giant statues of a group of mad guitarists.

These surprisingly modest rooms, when we know that in the 1960s the tubes were recorded with all the speakers – singers, musicians, choristers … -, invented the famous Nashville sound, the sound that Elvis Presley magnified on 56 of his titles put boxed at Studio B between June 1958 and May 20, 1971. During the visit, we learn that the King recorded the legendary seated on a chair Are You Lonesome Tonight at 4 a.m. on April 4, 1960, after requesting that all lights be turned off. A total of 35,000 RCA songs were born in these Nashville studios.

Hundreds of Honky tonks

After theory, quickly, practice! Nashville devours its ears on the lookout, pulsating legs and glass in hand. From 10 a.m. until dawn, tapping your foot and lifting your elbow. The city must have several hundred bars and restaurants. In each, a mini-stage with loudspeakers, amplifiers and keyboards. Groups (like soloists) follow one another in the chain. In the profession, it is said that a career necessarily begins in these lairs of Nashville, the honky tonks (“glaucous lines”). Convict of the decibel rock as tattooed as a comic strip or country singer straight out of the neighboring farm, whatever, the atmosphere is hot and boiling: we scream instead of talking, we smoke in the chain (here, it’s is allowed), we drink beyond thirst, we greet the Tennessee flag red, white, blue struck with a star, hung at the entrance between two memories of the American Civil War, a sixties Wurlitzer jukebox , a dented Stetson… And we applaud everything by demanding the rest. Please pour your donation into the hat that goes from hand to hand with the last song. It is the stamp of the artists.

Elvis’ pink cadillac

The greatest concentration of these places that vibrate in the yardstick of true America is in the city center, on Broadway, the main artery, as well as on the 4th and 5th Avenues which cross it. Do not miss either Coyotte Ugly or Tootsie’s, let alone Burbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, Fuel, BB King Bar, where it is possible to dine very well during the show, and many others. Above all, let the inspiration speak: the first open will do the trick as the musical level of Nashville is high! In between, a record store, a boot or guitar store and the crowd of American vacationers who pass on the good musical tips of the evening.

One day break, you will have to cross the doors of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This temple dedicated to country music and rock tells the sources (moving archive films to support it) and exposes sumptuous nuggets: gold records, stage costumes, vintage guitars, delirious Pontiac with colts fixed on the wings and no less dazzling Cadillac rose lined with gold, with integrated record player … That of Elvis …

If we have to get back on the road, it will necessarily be towards Memphis, the other capital of music, rock and blues combined. A name banned here. When Chuck Berry, pope of rock, sings Tennessee, Memphis wins. Unforgivable, but not bad! The city of music sings and sings again.



No direct flights between Paris and Nashville. The stopover is therefore compulsory. For example, Air France flight to New York (or Atlanta), then Delta flight, the American partner company, for Nashville. Count a good ten hours of travel and around 900 ¤ in economy class, around 2000 ¤ in Premium class and between 3425 and 4526 ¤ in Business. Tel .: 36 54 and www.airfrance.fr


All travelers (including children) to the United States must apply for an ESTA on the official website esta.cbp.dhs. gov ($ 14). Beware of the many pirate sites that charge much more.


When it’s noon in France, it’s 5 a.m. in summer in Nashville.


Sheraton Hotel, a comfortable, but not surprisingly, very functional establishment in the city center. From ¤150 per room. 623 Union Street Tel .: 00 1 615 259 20 00 and www.sheratonmusiccity.com


Bars are prohibited for those under 21 years of age.


For carefree travel (plane, transfers, hotel and car rental), consult the travel specialists in the United States, which are La Cie des Etats-Unis (www.compagniesdumonde.com), Travelers in the United States (www.voyageursdumonde .com), Equinoxiales (www.equinoxiales.fr), Fabulous Holidays (www.vacancesfabuleuses.fr)


Nashville Tourist Office: www.visitmusiccity.com


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