He was born to Joseph and Yvonne Mitterrand on 26th October 1916 at 22 rue Abel Guy in Jarnac, the fifth of eight children.

A Charentais family

Maison natale François Mitterrand – Legalween photographie
Crate of vinegar at François Mitterrand's birthplace

The family was part of the local Catholic, conservative middle class. His father, formerly with the railways, took over his father-in-law’s vinegar business at the end of the 1920s and ran it until his death in 1946.

"Jarnac is a little town of white houses on the banks of the Charente. I can see even now the Quai de l’Orangerie, just at the end of my road with its nicely designed facades, the lime trees and their aroma that I adored every summer. And then, there’s the River Charente…"

François Mitterrand’s childhood home

The house was built in the early 19th century and was bought by the future President’s maternal great-grandfather in 1863. It remained in the family until 2005 when it was acquired by the municipality and is today the property of the François Mitterrand Institute.

Maison natale François Mitterrand
Childhood home of François Mitterrand in Jarnac, seen from the garden with the wisteria in bloom

A fine example of Charentais : architecture: a townhouse in dressed stone that seems simple and austere; it gives onto the street with a long façade of high windows and grey shutters and which dates, in part, from the 30s.
Once past the main door, the family’s privacy is revealed: a centenary wisteria dominates a paved interior courtyard that gives onto a little square of lawn surrounded by flowerbeds.

Maison natale François Mitterrand – Mickael Boilot

Visitors can immerse themselves in the environment that marked and accompanied him, walk through and explore the living rooms that have been fully restored, the furniture …

… objects and family documents as well as some of his writing. A garden now occupies the former courtyard of the vinegar works, the source of the family’s income until the 1970s after the arrival of phylloxera in the region; the main building has been redeveloped into an exhibition hall.

Maison natale François Mitterrand – Legalween photographie
Books belonging to François Mitterrand's family in the house where he was born

The childhood home opened to the public on 8th January 2016 on the 10th anniversary of the President’s death.

When I go back, I find my home just as it was, the same rooms, the same décor. I believe there are few places like this where things have lasted whereas all around, the world is changing so quickly.

Champs SIT – Veuillez sélectionner une offre S.I.T.

Champs SIT – Veuillez sélectionner une offre S.I.T.

The grave in the Grands Maisons cemetery where François Mitterrand is buried

Maison natale François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand's grave in the Grands Maisons cemetery in Jarnac

François Mitterrand is buried in the vault that was originally that of his mother’s family, the Lorrains, in the Grands Maisons cemetery.
It was probably in the middle of the 1930s that a vault was added at the rear, in which his parents and other family members are buried.
The front part is a simple chapel dating from the second half of the 19th century that opens onto an altar of the same period.
Above the door is a medallion representing charity, faith and hope, faith being shown by the cross.
Hope is illustrated by a naval anchor, a primitive Christian symbol; the heart relates to charity.

The François Mitterrand Museum

Destination Cognac
The François Mitterrand Museum in Jarnac brings together objects given to the President of the Republic during his seven-year presidency.

The museum was set in a former cognac cellar that belonged to the Bisquit Dubouché firm and later acquired by the municipality. There are two rooms; the Gifts Room and the Capital Architecture Room.

François Mitterrand had himself chosen this place and participated in the arrangement of the Gifts Room which he opened on 6th March 1995.
The Jarnac Donation was the fourth and last carried out by the President.
The first was the creation of the Musée du Septennat at Château-Chinon, the second his gift of books to the Bibliothèque Jean-Jaurès in Nevers and the third a collection of paintings offered to the Musée de Clamecy.

An anecdote

François Mitterrand offered the Globe to the museum.
He had the town of Jarnac, as well as Château-Chinon, Cluny, Solutré and Latche added to the globe.

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