International Tales : France, 2

Participation from France, by Noa De Rycke

Noa De Rycke, 22 years old, live in Bordeaux, in the south of the country, close to Spain and study Comics in Master degree. Follow them on instagram, Art account @eclatsdame2 and Personnal account @noaagarden

“Chilling with Tulipe, a bear from Comics’ world”

As the creator of the project and a student in a master of Comics, I wanted to also participate and share my culture and using Comics ! I grew up in France, between two different cultures: Bretagne and Alsace. I could select my inspiration from these two regions with strong history and folklore tales, but I prefer to choose something very personal in my today universe. However, at the end of the article, I will share some folklorist tales of both my regions, so you will be able to see how France can be a land of diversity.

The French culture is full of Comics ! You probably know the most famous ones like “Tintin et Milou” or “Astérix et Obélix” but today I want to share with you a comic that helped me a lot. This comic named “Tulipe’s winter” (L’hiver de Tulipe) imagined and drew by Sophie Guerrive.

This Comic is the 4th tome of the collection, published by the publishing house 2024 (one of my favourite publishing house!), in 2021, in France.

Tulipe (the name of a delicate flower) is a brushed bear living in the forest with his friends, Crocus, a snake looking for the sense of life and Violette, a purple bird which is a desperate poet. In these Comics, the three is also a part of the story with an access to its thoughts that will be useful for deep understandings.

I have two favourites comic strip plates from this tome.

Page 91 from ” Tulipe’s Winter “

My first one is when Crocus (the snake) runs everywhere, struggling with pressure of being young and not achieve anything huge since the beginning of his life. He also has to deal with the pressure of time because of the ephemeral character of life and the feeling of “wasting” the time again and again in the everyday life.

Tulipe (the bear) is here, chilling sitting on the trunk of his favourite tree while Crocus explains his thoughts about time pressure. Crocus confides his problems to his friend Tulipe, who seems calm and far from these thoughts of guilt of hyper-production and the fear of missing something in his life. To all these struggles, Tulipe takes the time to formulate his own thoughts: “ It’s easier to control time, you just have to not worry about it ” He also says ” Time devours those who run after it, it drives crazy those who try to hold it back, there is nothing to do but watch it pass. Between us, it’s less tiring to do this than crossing a meadow.

Page 110 from ” Tulipe’s Winter “

My second favourite is the page 110. In this peaceful landscape with minimalist design, Violette asks a simple question to her friend Tulipe: ” What did you do today? “. Tulipe, who is simply laying down, answers with a lot of delicacy: “ I lay here, I saw clouds, wind and birds passing by “. Violette thirsty of productivity and knowledge asks him what he learned during this time and his response, full of wisdom and calm, inspires me a lot ; he responds: ” Nothing, and it was good “.

> These both simple but deeply meaningful answers help me in overwhelming times of life. In fact, simply experience life and do nothing is the greatest thing ever. As a student, a young adult and a human in this capitalism hyper-productivity society, this kind of sentences represents my mantra to follow. This very human and reasonable side of life allows me to release the pressure and enjoy for now and for the future, without clouds of doubt so often present in my inner landscape.

Here are some pages from the comics, I selected dialogues that are meaningful for me, and I hope, for you too, as a break in the rush of life.

Violette decided to leave the house, even with big dangers outside like wolves and the cold. Tulipe (the bear) seems lost but his friend answers, full of courage and determination ” The cold and wolves exist, we will not escape them forever. On the other hand, fear and sadness, we fight it” Tulipe then asks what she will do. Violette answers a very inspiration sentence “I do not know, but I will do it”-p.60

The end of my participation will be devote to folk tales of both region’s cultures that I grew up with: Bretagne and Alsace.

Bécassine ” is a French Comics Strip published from 1905 until 1962, written by Jacqueline Rivière and drawn by Joesph Pinchon.

The main character is Bécassine, a young woman who lives in Bretagne and experience everyday life. Her dress and hair are typical from Bretagne, which welcome many different traditions and colors including this one. From a part to another one, Bretagne culture is deeply diversified. For example, the traditional clothes of my grandma look nothing like this, but more embroidered flowers with multiple lawyers of skirts.

Bécassine ” is considered one of the first female protagonists in the History of French/Belgium comics and one of the most enduring French comics of all time, iconic in its home country, and with a long history in syndication and publication.

At first, I wanted to select this tale/comic because I grew up with it, but I discovered that unfortunately, the professionals who were in charge of this very famous comics were catholic. And they used this story to spray religious ideologies but also to guide girls/women into a “proper” way to behave, ” bien-pensante” (correct-thinking in a feminine way, so addressed to women) like they said. In this context, the male gaze dominates everything and especially on those women’s adventures. For that reason, some contents are shocking and inappropriate because it was made during the second world war and in a strong patriarchy society.

In Alsace, there is a famous tale that said storks bring babies!

This is a printed birth card appears around 1850 in the catalogue of the Wentzel printing house in Wissembourg with the mention: «The stork brought it».

From generation to generation, Alsacien’s inhabitants pass on these stories in which reality and imagination mingle. On the eve of the Great War, this legend has become so common in Alsace that it is also known in the whole land of France.

The representation of the stork carrying babies is appeared late in Alsace. The Alsacien writer Charles Grad, in 1889, indicates that to the children of Strasbourg, the mothers of families tell them that the storks bring them little brothers, sitting in their rump on their feathered seat and holding them by the neck, through the air.

You may wondered: Why did this legend take root in this particular territory of France?

Simply because storks inhabit Alsace ! The legend explains that after placing an order, the future mother must put some sugar cubes on the windowsill to attract the stork.

“The bird will then fetch the toddler from a spring or pond, where the elves bring back from the depths of the earth the souls fallen from the sky with the rain and reincarnated as newborns.”

Postcard from Felix Luib, Kunstverlagsanstalt, Strasbourg, nº 6064

In the Alsace landscape of tales, the name of Auguste Stoeber is famous because he was one of the Alsacien folklorist’s writer who recorded the tales and legends of the region using the model of the Grimm brothers. Through those tales, Alsace’s region built its strong and independent identity, deeply connected to German’s stories.

Citer ce billet
noaderycke (2023, 11 décembre). International Tales : France, 2. Festival Transversales. Consulté le 13 juin 2024, à l’adresse

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