Molière: 400th birthday of a master playwright

January 15, 2022, marks the 400th birthday of Molière, a French playwright with some thirty comedies that have become classics, such as “The School for Wives” (1662), “The Misanthrope” (1666), “The Miser” (1668), “The impostures of Scapin” or “ The middle class gentlemen” (1670)…

The story of Molière

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, was born in Paris in early January 1622. He grew up in the capital, in a family of rich bourgeois who lived at 96 rue Saint-Honoré, a large house formerly called the Pavillon des singes. Initially, he inherited a comfortable living from his father as chief upholsterer and valet to the king, but gave it up to follow his vocation: become a writer and get on stage.

Thirteen years on the roads of France

After an inauspicious start with the Illustre Théâtre, his first troupe, Molière left Paris and was welcomed by Charles Dufresne (son of Claude Dufresne—king’s painter). From 1645 to 1658, the group travelled all over France in Nantes, Toulouse, Montpellier, Pézenas, Lyon, Avignon or Rouen.

"If Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was born in Paris, Molière was born in Pézenas"-Marcel Pagnol

Pézenas is a pretty village located close to Montpellier in the Occitanie region in southern France. Molière lived there a part of this life and his memory is still present thanks to the shows, amateur and professional troupes, international conferences, etc. organized to relive his era.

Find out more:
Molière Festival 2022 — Le théâtre dans tous ses éclats (External link) (French only, from June 3 to 12, 2022)

Historical reconstruction “Pézenas, in the eyes of Molière” (From September 16 to 18 September, 2022 during the Heritage Days)

The Comédie-Française - “The House of Molière”

The Comédie-Française is the longest-running theatre company in the world. Founded on October 21, 1680 by order of King Louis XIV, seven years after the death of Molière as a merger between his troupe and another, the Comédie-Française has been haunted by his tutelary figure for nearly 400 years.

If you want to visit this Parisian's institution, you will be able to look at Molière’s chair, the one in which he played his ultimate “The Imaginary Invalid” show and in which he died a few hours later.

From January 15 to July 25, 2022, many exhibitions, meetings and shows dedicated to Molière can be discovered at the Comédie-Française.
Find the details of the program here. (External link)

French refers to the “language of Molière”

Nowadays, his affluence is still present. French people commonly refer to the French language as the “language of Molière”. This expression appeared after his death, when his plays were performed in all major European capitals.

To know more about the life and works of the most performed French playwright in the world:

To discover on site
Versailles celebrates Molière: Discover the 2022 program (External link)
Exhibition “Molière, the making of national glory” (January 15 to April 17, 2022).
Molière Month (June 2022), a month of theatre and music in Versailles

Molière in musicThe Opera Library & Museum (External link) (September 27 to January 15, 2023)

To watch
“Molière” Film (External link) (2007) by Laurent Tirard with French actors Romain Duris and Fabrice Luchini.

To read
Molière: The Complete Richard Wilbur Translations, Volume 1 (External link)
Molière: The Complete Richard Wilbur Translations, Volume 2 (External link)