I will sleep at your place: Antoine de Maximy, fired “by an email” from France 5, bounced back on RMC Découverte

The public channel was looking to “rejuvenate the audience” sums up the almost 65-year-old adventurer who has difficulty digesting having been dismissed as unclean. He says he found “an extraordinary freedom” on RMC Découverte. This Friday, May 10, head to Taiwan for a new show.

The show on Taiwan begins with an observation: “It’s a country that has no problem with cameras, that’s changing!”. Is this common in Asian countries? You had more difficulty, for example, in a Muslim country, Dubai…

Yes, in Asia, it’s much easier to film people. It’s cultural. In the West, we have developed this story of image rights a lot. 30 years ago, in France, we never asked people to film them. 40 years ago, in the Invisible Camera (Editor’s note: the hidden cameras of Jacques Legras), the guy played jokes on a guy who was ridiculous and from whom nothing was asked. I’m not saying it was good, but it was like that.

It’s easy to film in Taiwan but not easy to sleep with locals. Only one accepted in two weeks…

Either way, it’s between one and four nights in a homestay during a stay. I don’t think I’ve ever done more than four. It’s a bit the same for everyone. In France or elsewhere, it surprises people that we make this request of them. In Vietnam, on the other hand, it’s incredibly easy. “Can we come into your house?” “Yes, come in!”

We don’t see the stress that it can generate to be lost in the middle of the night without knowing where to sleep…

I’m not stressed, for lots of reasons. Firstly because I’ve been doing this for many years. And then I very often leave my things at the hotel. When I don’t do it, it’s because I have a car and if I find myself stuck at 11 p.m., I can drive 200 miles to go to sleep in a city.

We see you using the translator with your phone a lot. You even cried about it in “I will sleep at your place” in Kazakhstan. You say in the documentary about Taiwan that it is a real “revolution” even if “it doesn’t have much charm”. In what ?

The world is evolving, modernizing, it’s part of this continuing globalization. The good thing is that everyone will be able to travel more and more easily. Today, you can go to Japan on your own. You have your GPS, it tells you which metro to take, which station to exit, which street to take. If you want to ask someone something, you use the translator.

When I started traveling, I would go away for two months and call once. I suddenly realized that the world had changed and that my life had progressed quite a bit. This is what makes me cry in Kazakhstan. I have been traveling for over 45 years. It’s not the same. I’m closer to the end than the beginning. I lived in a time that is very distant now.

In my show “I will sleep on stage”, which I am performing in Avignon for the second year this summer, I find myself with Indians who weave their clothes in the 80s in the middle of the Amazon. It’s a different era. I feel it cruelly in a certain way.


Sometimes, it’s rare, you don’t feel disoriented. In Taiwan, when approaching a bridge, you say that it has something of the Millau Viaduct…

Yes, it’s the same kind of architecture, with its stays. Maybe it’s the same guy who did it… (Editor’s note: the architect Norman Foster did not design this bridge but perhaps the Taiwanese authorities were inspired by his work) .

You say that we have the impression from Europe that China is going to invade Taiwan, whereas people there are not talking about it at all. You were there in the middle of the presidential campaign…

Yes, no one gives a damn. Besides, I saw an article in a newspaper which said that people didn’t care. We, in France, keep saying that there are maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait, that planes are flying over them. We are told that China will invade tomorrow. That’s not what I felt.

You are currently in Latvia. Will this be your next show?

The Baltics, yes, maybe. But actually I don’t know anything about it. I have to shoot two more before it airs.

In which countries?

They are not arrested, I decide at the last moment. Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, maybe.

I wasn’t supposed to come to the Baltics straight away. I came there because the weather was not good in France. I don’t know what will remain of the three Baltic countries, it will depend on the editing. Once I went to Barbados. As I felt there wasn’t enough going on, I went to Saint Lucia and the episode was called Caribbean. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this. I’ve always worked like that. The more I advance in my career, the less easy I am about this. They are less and less in a position to explain to me that they want me to do this or that.

You will be 65 in a few days. How do you see the future of the show and your on-screen presence. You don’t program anything there either?

I’m not very worried. The show will continue as long as I’m healthy and the channel still wants it.

You are now on RMC discovery after having been on France 5 for fifteen years. How did the collaboration end?

After Covid and my feature film on the Carpathians, I proposed other destinations. They just told me that it had changed, that it was no longer in keeping with the times and that’s all. They didn’t even call me. They sent me an email. When you’ve worked for fifteen years with a channel and the guys don’t even call you, you tell yourself that they’re not very, very classy. Not a phone call, for one of the most emblematic programs on France 5. And again, I am a favorite. Some people learn about it through the press.

What makes me laugh the most is that the people who told me that it was to rejuvenate the audience, because I was 63, are people who have retired! And I arrived on a channel where the average age is 30 years younger than on France 5. These people are visionaries, right?

You say that there is less money on RMC discovery. How does that translate for you?

This does not impact me directly, but more in terms of production. There are fewer people working on it and they have a harder time managing everything. But on the other hand I have an extraordinary freedom. France 5 had refused “I will sleep with the Gauls”. They also refused a thing that I started to shoot, “I’ll go to sleep with you”. It is very funny. I try to sleep in people’s beds in France. They didn’t want the specials either (Editor’s note: a bonus at the end of the documentary, where Antoine de Maximy goes behind the scenes of the report). I had to fight for them to accept. And it was in a studio, ridiculous, with a decor and not in my kitchen like now. With RMC discovery, we made a longer bonus, 90 minutes. I’m very happy to have left.

Antoine de Maximy in front of the Lerab Ling Buddhist temple in Roqueredonde, for the show
Antoine de Maximy in front of the Lerab Ling Buddhist temple in Roqueredonde, for the program “I will sleep among the Gauls”.

You filmed this “I will sleep among the Gauls”, in France therefore, broadcast at the end of 2023, having gone to discover the Buddhist temple near Lodève in Hérault, a victim in the past of the actions of its master Sogyal Rinpoche…

I film what happens. I’m not investigating. I don’t prepare. That’s the job of journalists. I didn’t know about it when I went there.

Antoine de Maximy, here in Saint-Félix-de-Pallières, had swapped his famous red shirt for a blue one, matching his car.
Antoine de Maximy, here in Saint-Félix-de-Pallières, had swapped his famous red shirt for a blue one, matching his car.

Are you preparing a sequel to “I will sleep among the Gauls”?

Yes, there is going to be a sequel, probably in November.

What’s it like for family life, with shows that often take you far from home?

I’m not there, I’m not there. I’m here, I’m here. I have a daughter who is grown up, she is living her life. She is around thirty years old.

You are married ?

I’m not married but I’m not going to elaborate. I’m not going to get into the celebrity crowd.

The show “J’irai slept chez les Gaulois” is unfortunately not available for replay on RMC Découverte. Antoine de Maximy also went to Saint-Félix-de-Pallières, in Gard, to the site of the old lead and arsenic mine, to meet residents with an alternative lifestyle.

A show that he will perform for the second summer in Avignon

This summer he will play at the Off d’Avignon festival for the second time, in July. Last year, he was at the Archipel and two days at the Rouge-Gorge. This summer, he will be at the Le Paris theater. “I want to start again. I’ve been going to Avignon for years.”

The title of his show: “I will go to sleep on stage“.

I’ll go to sleep at your place is an original and twisted show, he said. You had to have had a particular background before. What I talk about in the show is this journey. What I’ve done before is infinitely more spectacular than I’ll Go Sleep at Your Place. I did war reporting, I dived in a submarine to a depth of 5,000 meters. I filmed monkeys in the tops of trees in the Amazon, I went on expeditions with the Raft of the Tops. I went down to an active volcano to collect lava. I went down into the ice chasms of the Greenland ice cap.”

“And all that was to make films. So I have the images. The show is a kind of conference with a lot of images and you go around the world in an hour and a half. I at least one quality is that I manage to capture the moment When the raft breaks, I have the images When I’m at the bottom of the sea too. and they set fire to a tree, I have the images.”



PREV “Behind the scenes…”: ex-bodyguard of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie gives revealing details about the couple
NEXT Brussels: the office and apartment of a Belgian architect now classified