The Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé is a fantastic short story, originally published in 1941. The action takes place mainly in Montmartre. The actor Jean Marais, also a sculptor, materialized the story in Place Marcel Aymé - Rue Norvins. Marcel Aymé and Jean Marais were both residents of Montmartre.


Statue de Passe-Muraille
Place Marcel Aymé
75018 Paris

  • Statue of the Upper Montmartre

Statue de Passe-Muraille
Place Marcel Aymé
75018 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 12″ N 2° 20′ 29″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88754 2.33808


Description complète

The Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé is a fantastic short story, originally published in 1941. The action takes place mainly in Montmartre. The actor Jean Marais, also a sculptor, materialized the story in Place Marcel Aymé - Rue Norvins. Marcel Aymé and Jean Marais were both residents of Montmartre.

Marcel Aymé, the author of Passe-Muraille

Marcel Aymé was born on March 29, 1902 in Joigny. He died on October 14, 1967 at his home in Montmartre, rue Norvins in Montmartre, in the 18th district of Paris. He was a prolific French writer, playwright, short story writer, screenwriter and essayist, who left two essays, seventeen novels, several dozen short stories, a dozen plays, more than one hundred and sixty articles and stories.

Marcel Aymé and his work

He was very attacked by the critics, even for his most inoffensive texts as Les Contes du chat perché. Most of his success came from the public, much through the theater. His plea against the death penalty with the play La Tête des autres (1952) raised strong reactions. Similarly with his grating comedies : Lucienne et le Boucher (1948), Clérambard (1950). It is with La Jument verte (1933) (the Green Mare in English) that Marcel Aymé obtains great notoriety. This novel became a Franco-Italian film directed by Claude Autant-Lara, in 1959.

Marcel Aymé was also linked to the cinema through his numerous screenplays. He also translated important American authors: Arthur Miller (The Witches of Salem), Tennessee Williams (The Night of the Iguana). Many films, TV movies and cartoons have been based on his works.

He has cultivated his status as a politically marginal writer. He remained far away from intellectual circles, which made him classified as a left-wing writer, then as a right-wing anarchist. His grave is in the nearby the Saint-Vincent cemetery.

The Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé

The main character of the story, Dutilleul, had just entered his forty-third year when he had the "revelation of his power". Before, Monsieur Dutilleul was Monsieur-everybody.

Le Passe-muraille features "an excellent man named Dutilleul who possessed the singular gift of passing through walls without being bothered". He was a third class employee at the Ministry of Registration. He was the very type of the little falot, grey and invisible man, and his gift allowed him to live perfectly amazing adventures. First he drives his disgraced department head crazy, then he commits robberies in the biggest banks and jewelry stores, signing his crimes with the name "Garou Garou". Of course, he made the headlines and put the police on their toes, who were unable to solve these spectacular thefts. He was voluntarily arrested to prove to his colleagues that he was Garou Garou. He is incarcerated in the Santé prison. But that doesn't stop him from borrowing books from the prison warden's library or going out to lunch. He escaped for good, but not without having previously notified the warden of his escape time by mail. He thought of leaving for Egypt but fell in love with a badly married woman he had met in the street. One night, as he leaves the room of his conquest, he loses his incredible gift and finds himself trapped in one of the walls of the house. Since then, "some winter nights, in the solitude of Norvins Street", only the guitar chords played by the painter Gen Paul "penetrate the heart of the stone like drops of moonlight".

Passe-Muraille hero: the action takes place mainly in the heart of Montmartre

Much of the action takes place in Montmartre, where Marcel Aymé lived, on Norvins Street. Dutilleul initially lived at 75bis rue d'Orchampt, then after escaping from prison, moved to an apartment on avenue Junot and fell in love with rue Lepic. It is finally in the street Norvins (in the part renamed Marcel Aymé) that the statue of Dutilleul by Jean Marais and with the features of Marcel Aymé, that was installed the "Passe-Muraille" blocked in a wall.

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  • July 15, 2024 9:51 pm local time

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