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René Frégni, who was born in Marseille in 1947, lives in Manosque. He is the author of hard-boiled crime fi ction and sentimental novels. He has often been presented as the successor of Jean Giono, the bard of the Provencal Alps.
“When I was a child, I lived in the district of “Château-Gombert” in Marseille, and every summer I went to the Alps on my recreational bicycle. The journey was exactly 100 km. For me, the climb to the Alps was a climb towards the light, towards freedom. I imagine that for the cyclists, who will take a road similar to mine, it is the ascent towards difficulties. But for me, this region still represents freedom and holidays. This is why I have come back to live there, very near the village where my parents had a cottage. The road that we used to take was wonderful: I have never grown tired of the charm of the scenery of the Alps of Upper Provence.
My brother had a gold racing bicycle and mine was violet, a bit like the lavender that we saw when we were cycling. Almost as soon as we arrived in the small village of Saint-Maime, where my parents had their house, every evening we organised bicycle races of about ten or so kilometres to Forcalquier (kilometre 129,5 of the stage). Each child adopted the name of a famous cyclist: I was Louison Bobet!”