Camus et sa clope – a good role model?

Gainsbourg had his Gitane, Tati his pipe, Captain Haddock his whisky.

All have been the object of disapproval on health grounds. Now it is Albert Camus, Nobel prize winner and author of some of the greats of French literature, who is under scrutiny for a  photo in which he is smoking a cigarette. The black and white portrait on the front of the médiathèque bearing his name at Clapiers in Montpellier has been the subject of a court enquiry.

“Est-il légal de choisir, pour un bâtiment public auquel on a donné le nom d’une personne, une photo dudit personnage avec sa cigarette ?”

The ‘loi Évin’ forbids all “propagande, publicité directe, indirecte” to do with tabacco. Add to this the pharmacy, and sports area nearby and it is understandable that some residents feel that “une collectivité territoriale doit donner l’exemple”.

The defense however says that this IS Camus, who he was and talks of the ‘indissociable image de Camus et sa clope’.

Although the magistrate  agrees that it is maybe a little “malheureux” and shows a “manque de clairvoyance”, he feels that it is not really “une erreur manifeste d’appréciation” and his ruling is directed by the fact that where art is concerned “…nous nous trouvons en dehors du champ de la loi Évin”.

A final decision is yet to be made.

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