Porquerolles - Celebrities
Information on people and celebrities who helped to define Porquerolles' history
François Joseph Fournier (1857 - 1935)
Adventurer and traveler of yesteryear, born in Belgium to a family of modest origins, François Joseph Fournier travelled to and worked in Canada and Mexico, where he discovered a gold mine and set up an agricultural company. Upon returning to Europe in 1912, he read an announcement for the sale by public auction of the Island of Porquerolles. He managed to acquire it for the sum of one million one hundred Francs, using a considerable part of his Mexican fortune, and he then offered it as a marriage present to Sylvia, his second wife.
After moving to the island together with Sylvia, he became a father of six children, all of whom were born on Porquerolles. Thanks to his enterprise, his passion, and his skills, he transformed Porquerolles Island, planting vineyards, creating an agricultural cooperative, and building a small fleet of boats for the connection with the mainland. He planted hundreds of thousands of trees, effectively reforesting the island. In 1931, with his wife Sylvia, he started the Mas di Langoustier, a hotel which is still today the property of his family’s descendants.
François Joseph Fournier died on Porquerolles at the age of 77.
Georges Simenon (1903 - 1989)
The Belgian writer Georges Simenon was author of hundreds of novels and stories including many noirs which have Inspector Maigret – a character invented by Simenon – as the protagonist. Having fallen in love with the island, he became a full-time guest there in 1924. Porquerolles was the setting for two of his novels, Le Cercle des Mahée and My Friend Maigret.