| 1806-1882 | 1883-1904 | 1905-1919 | 1920-19.. |

Emile Ripert was born in La Ciotat on 19th November 1882.

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On his father’s side, Emile Ripert’s family originates from a place called Cadenet in the Vaucluse southern region of France.

Adolphe RIPERT, his grandfather, was notably renowned for his mastering of the “Provencal language “into which he translated the works of R.P Garnier and the “l’Imitation de Jésus-Christ “by Frédéric Mistral.


Adolphe RIPERT

Emile Ripert will later dedicate his work “The Provencal Renaissance” to the loving memory of his grandfather.


On his mother’s side, Emile Ripert’s grandfather, Addo Martin Berenger was a notary in La Ciotat.

With a true passion for writing in verses and fluent in Latin, he was an accomplished poet and he was also involved in local politics.



Le Sécadou - Salle à manger
Addo Martin Berenger
bought and refurbished the
Sécadou family country house

where Emile Ripert spent
the whole of his childhood.

Le Sécadou - Hall


Addo Martin Berenger’s daughter, Mélanie Ripert married Adrien Ripert in 1877.
They had three children: Henri, George and Emile.




The three brothers were brought up to be very close to each others. Henri, born in 1878 died at a young age; his brother George went on to become the dean at the University of Law in Paris and wrote many books on legal affairs while Emile, born in 1882 quickly realised that poetry was to become his lifetime occupation.



Emile’s early childhood is spent in Draguignan where his father works but the family would spend their holiday in La Ciotat family country house. That’s where Emile started developing a strong sense of belonging and identity with this region of France, La Provence that he will worship for the rest of his life.

The young Emile RIPERT
his manuscripts and poems

Hardly aged 12, he created his own school newspaper called la flèche where he published his very own first verses.

This period marks the early awakening of Emile as a poet and his strong attachment for La Provence.

Click here for an account of one of his oral examination involving an incident with his bicycle. Une histoire de bicyclette en 1895Une histoire de bicyclette en 1895

Prix au Lycée Mignet - 1898 Emile attended the Draguignan Junior High School from, 1887 to 1893 and then the Aix en Provence Mignet High School from 1893 to 1898.

Emile passed his Baccalaureate in 1899 and on the advice of his teachers moved to Paris in order to prepare the entry exam to the “École Normale Supérieure”, he was then only 17 years of age.

Livret scolaire de 1896 à 1900


In Paris he was living with his aunt Elvire on Claude Bernard Street; she died as he just completed his studying and he later dedicated this poem to her «Le poème d'AssiseLe poème d'Assise ».

He completed a course of high rhetoric’s studies in the lycée Henry IV where he was introduced to Contemporary Poetry mostly influenced by the works of Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Henri de Reignier and all the symbolists of this literary movement. He particularly liked the Parnassians poets such as Leconte de Lisle, Sully Prud’homme or François Coppée.

He was finally admitted in the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1901; by then he was contemplating the idea of getting his rhymes and verses published but, as a perfectionist he was ready to wait.

Paris in this early 20th century was a buzzing stage for creativity and drama. That’s in this context that Emile Ripert made significant encounters, notably with Frédéric Mistral in 1901 and Edmond Rostand in 1902. Emile RIPERT - poète

In Paris, despite the intellectual discipline required at school and his growing appetite for literature, Emile simply could not get his native region out of his head. On one afternoon he found a small brochure about the Provence and its language in some bookshop and this came as a revelation to him: the Provence and the Provencal language from then on will remain an object of fascination for the rest of his life.

Here is how he put this feeling into words:

During my Parisian exile, I had, out of boredom and on a rainy day found out about poetry from Provence. Nor at school nor through my family had I been told about it. Indeed as I was purposelessly walking through the Odeon galleries, I laid my eyes on this small brochure at the corner of the “Blériot et Gautier” bookshop; this grey-covered booklet had been edited by the poet Paul Mariéton and it contained the brilliant works of Mistral, Roumanille, Aubanel, and Félix Gras. As I was reading them suddenly this fog that surrounded me cleared up: the rhythmic sound of this language I only but a few words knew how to instinctively pronounce lead me into a brand new world of poetry that overshadowed the one of the Romantics, the Parnassians and the few Symbolists whom I had long thought it was my duty to know. I suddenly remembered that my paternal grandfather was an old félibre even though he had reluctantly accepted the disappearance of this regional language of which he had taught me next to nothing. Yet I instantly recalled, while looking through his books collection as a young child in the Beaux Arts street in Marseilles, finding a strangely entitled book: Mirèio. I immediately wrote to my grandfather and asked him to send me the «petit Trésor du Félibrige”  that had recently been published by Father Xavier de Fourvière. In order to read Mirèio that I could not afford on my modest scholarship (its cost was 3 Francs), I would lock myself up in the Sainte Geneviève library; there, in the smell of wet umbrellas, old books and the variable hygiene of its readers, I would inhale the fragrances of the Alpilles and listen to the pretty silk worm breeders sing in the background noise of steps and turning pages. »

At the Ecole Normale that I entered shortly afterwards, my vocation was the one of a « provençaliste » and I dared admit it. Lucien Herr, the librarian would smile at my hobby and for me he dispatched the Koschwitz annotated edition of Mirèio from Germany.

My mentor, M. Joseph Bédier, asked me: « You want to study Provencal »? Do you know German? »

All of them wanted me to go for Romance Philosophy and the Troubadours while Mistral and Félibres alone were of interest to me.

Although Emile Ripert was deeply absorbed in his studies, his true vocation was slowly taking shape and his strong desire was now to make the acquaintance of the man who would become his life long model and mentor, Frédéric Mistral.. The one who “in order to dig and work the field where poetry grows will seek the old rusted plough mastered by his grandfather… Emile RIPERT et Frédéric MISTRAL



When Emile Ripert left the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1905, he briefly joined the army for his compulsory military service but his soul belonged somewhere else and he was never made a reservist.

Émile RIPERT soldat

In 1907, Emile starts his career as a professor in the High school of Toulon. Emile RIPERT - professeur
This very year he also visits Rome, Le poème d'AssiseAssise, Florence, Naples, Genoa, Bologna and Venice. Those 5 months spent in Italy were a pure delight to him and filled him with a lyrical enthusiasm. In Florence he gets to re-read The Divine Comedy. There, on the shores of the Arno River he realises what will eventually shape most of his poetry works , the « terra-rima» of Dante.

 “In this particular composition, verses gathered by groups of three allow for the ending isolated alexandrine to express the entirety of the poet’s thoughts so that one might be tempted to think that what only matters in the poem and to the poet is this very last verse.». Extracts of notes on Émile Ripert by Lucien Gaillard

That’s around that time that he published La Terre des Lauriers, laureate of the National Poetry Prize, making him a recognised and successful poet.

Adrienne RIPERT née GRAS

On April 25th 1908 he married Adrienne GRAS, daughter of Dr. GRAS, the former mayor of La Ciotat. They had been childhood friends and she will remain a great source of inspiration throughout his life. In 1904 he had dedicated to her his first collection of poems, « le chemin Blanc »

dédicace à Adrienne

Adrienne gave birth to two children: Francis born in 1911 and Mireille in 1914 who will die at the age of 15. He wrote a collection of poems to her beloved memory entitled « Dans ses quinze ans était MireilleDans ses quinze ans était Mireille ».

Francis RIPERT 1911-1997
Mireille RIPERT 1914-1930

Émile RIPERT à droite et un ami d'Emile - 1916

In 1914 the mobilization was called out and Emile was sent to Carcassonne and then Oran to join to colonial infantry.

The breaking out of war puts an end to Emile’s aspirations and when he returned he was deeply disillusioned. He wrote « la sirène blessée », a piece about sub-marine war, dedicated to all the victims of The Great War.

Following his liberation Emile returns to the Marseille high-school where he joins a course in Rhetoric’s and in the meantime he presents his thesis « la Renaissance Provençale ». He also achieves a thorough analysis on «la versification de Mistral », regarded as one of the most complete work on the literary movements in Southern France. This piece of work covers periods from the early Troubadours up to the félibréen movement. His thesis will later be praised by the Académie Française and recognised as a major peace in regional literary studies of which Emile Ripert becomes a Doctor in 1916.



From 1920 onwards, he will occupy the chair of Literature and Provencal Language Professor at the Aix en Provence University.

In 1923 he starts a tour of outstanding lectures not only all over France but also in Italy, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, the UK and Monaco. Emile RIPERT - conférencier





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