The history between Victor Hugo and Villequier

On 19/07/2023 0


Leopoldine Hugo

The connection between Victor Hugo and Villequier is a long-standing story.

Indeed, Auguste Vacquerie, who resided in Villequier, met Mr. Hugo during his studies in Paris. From this encounter, a friendship developed between the Vacquerie and Hugo families, who regularly stayed in Villequier for their vacations.

During these gatherings, a strong bond formed between Victor Hugo's eldest daughter, Léopoldine, and Auguste Vacquerie, the son of the Vacquerie family.

Despite the famous writer's reservations, Léopoldine and Auguste got married. Some time after their marriage, a tragic event led Victor Hugo to visit Villequier regularly.

During a boat ride on the Seine with Léopoldine, Auguste, and his uncle and nephew, a strong gust of wind overturned the Vacquerie's boat, causing the passengers to fall into the river.

In her fall, Léopoldine was unable to free herself from her clothing, which dragged her to the bottom of the Seine. Auguste, her husband, made numerous attempts to save her by diving into the water but was unsuccessful. Eventually, he chose to sink alongside his wife.

Victor Hugo, who was in Spain at the time, learned of the news upon his return to France while reading the newspaper. He never recovered from the loss of his daughter, and this tragedy inspired his famous poem, "Demain dès l'aube" ("Tomorrow, at dawn").

He regularly visited his daughter's grave at the cemetery in Villequier.

The Vacquerie house is now a museum that recounts the life of Victor Hugo and is open to visitors.

Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur


Victor Hugo, extrait du recueil «Les Contemplations» (1856)



Tomorrow, at dawn, when the countryside becomes white,

I will leave. You see, I know that you are waiting for me.

I will go through the forest, I will go over the mountains.

I cannot stay away from you any longer.

I will walk with my eyes fixed on my thoughts,

Without seeing anything around me, without hearing any sound,

Alone, unknown, hunched over, hands clasped,

Sad, and for me, the day will be like the night.

I will not look at the gold of the setting sun,

Nor the distant sails descending towards Harfleur,

And when I arrive, I will place on your grave

A bouquet of green holly and flowering heather.


Victor Hugo, excerpt from the collection "Les Contemplations" (1856)

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