Saint-Exupéry’s glasses


In May 1942, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was invited by his Montreal publisher, Bernard Valiquette, to promote the release of his latest book, Flight to Arras. The author had been living in exile in New York since 1940 due to World War II and decided to spend a few days at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal.

Unfortunately, Saint-Exupéry ended up staying for over five weeks due to his American visa expiring. Forced to wait for his papers, the writer continued giving conferences in the province, including Québec City. While in the city, he stayed with philosopher Charles De Koninck, where he met mathematician Adrien Pouliot and chemist Cyrias Ouellet during dinner parties. However, Saint-Exupéry often left intellectual discussions to answer the questions of De Koninck’s oldest child, eight-year-old Thomas. At one point, the blue-eyed, blond-haired boy with fine features even asked Saint-Exupéry to draw him a sheep!

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry eventually returned to Montreal to get his papers, taking the opportunity to visit the city one last time. Arriving in front of Hangar 16, the author met a group of longshoremen and greeted them. As he boarded his bus, Saint-Exupéry was deep in thought over his new work. Longshoreman Médée walked over and saw a shiny object fall from the author’s head, but before he could do anything, the bus had driven off. Returning to his fellow longshoremen, Médée told them what happened and found out who the aviator glasses belonged to. Back in New York, Saint-Exupéry started writing his last book, The Little Prince, which became the most famous book in children’s literature.


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