TRIBUTE When Bernard Pivot did the “bouvine dictation” in Saint-Gilles

TRIBUTE When Bernard Pivot did the “bouvine dictation” in Saint-Gilles
TRIBUTE When Bernard Pivot did the “bouvine dictation” in Saint-Gilles

The famous journalist who died this Monday at the age of 89 went to the Bilhau manade in October 1997

Known for having created the literary programs “Apostrophes” and “Bouillon de Culture”, broadcast on Antenne 2 (then France 2) for more than 25 years, the journalist Bernard Pivot died this Monday at the age of 89, in Neuilly . This lover of words was also known for his spelling championships and his famous dictation which enjoyed immense popular success for 20 years from 1985 to 2005.

In October 1997, he went to the Bilhau manade in Saint-Gilles to present the 12th edition of the Dicos d’or a few weeks before the semi-final in Nîmes. A day that manager Jean-Marie Bilhau, accustomed for decades to receiving personalities of all kinds, has kept intact in his memory. “The two people I remember most fondly are Bernard Pivot and Léo Ferré”he confides.

Bernard Pivot was dictating to the manadiers • Photo manade Bilhau

That day, the bouvine ambassador introduced the Parisian journalist to our local traditions such as the Camargue race but also the Estagel abbey and especially our Provençal language. The one who loved words so much had discovered local slang. Thus, he had dictated to around 400 people, mainly to herders and journalists. Boudiou, espalanquer, engavacher… were among the words that Bernard Pivot had integrated into his text to adapt to the local language.

The semi-final of the Dicos d’or in the Nîmes arenas

From this moment, Jean-Marie Bilhau kept many photos including the moment when the presenter was at the desk giving dictation but also next to him while he was on his horse. Also in the company of Catherine Matausch, former journalist from France 3, who presented the Dicos d’or. “He was a man of extreme kindness and gifted with unparalleled intelligence. He was also passionate about football. We had a very pleasant time”remembers the Saint-Gillois manadier who was able to chat with the native Lyonnais during lunch.

On November 9, 1997 he returned to the Nîmes arenas to host the semi-final in the presence of 7,500 participants and in front of millions of television viewers. For this edition, the final took place at the Stade de France. “He invited me but I couldn’t come”, adds Jean-Marie Bilhau. A literary figure who will have left his mark on many French people throughout the country and therefore as far as the Camargue.

Here is the dictation of Bernard Pivot’s bouvine

Under the sign of the bull

I, who until now had only faced slugs and chihuahuas, found myself, in the arenas of Nimes, among the raseteurs bold enough to cut the cockades from the horns of the Camargue bulls. Boudiou! I was pissed! It would have been dishonorable if I had waited any longer. So I rushed forward. But a bull, who abhorred TV or who had mistaken me for one of those shameless paparazzi, spotted me and charged me. I ran as fast as I could and jumped over the barricade, behind which I scrambled, getting stuck in manure. All the popes laughed at my misfortune. They lifted me up and, to comfort me, to reassure me, they made me drink so much of these good Gard wines that I went to bed. The ridicule added to the shame of the braggadocio! That’s when I woke up in a sweat… Taurus natives don’t necessarily make good razors.



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