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Jean Villard Gilles

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Title: Jean Villard Gilles  
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Subject: La Venoge (poem), Venoge (river)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jean Villard Gilles

Gilles photographied in 1975 by Erling Mandelmann

Jean Villard a.k.a. Gilles (2 June 1895 in Montreux (Switzerland) – 26 March 1982 in Vevey), originating from Daillens, was a French Swiss multi-talented chansonnier, poet, humorist, comedian, actor, and cabaretist. He was friends with Édith Piaf, Ernest Ansermet, Jacques Brel, Jean Poiret, Michel Serrault and met also with Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz. He gave his last interview in December, 1981 at his home, where he confided that "I have always tried my best to be a poet."

One of Lausanne's parks, on the Avenue du Théâtre, now bears his name. He served in the Swiss Army during World War I in Soubey, Jura, recalling that he defended the bridge that crosses the Doubs River.

Roles at the Theatre


  • 1932-1939 duo « Gilles et Julien », with Julien (Aman Maistre(1903-2001)
  • 1940-1948 duo with Edith Burger,[1]
  • 1948-1975 duo with Albert Urfer

Cabaret owner

  • 1940 : he founded the cabaret « Coup de Soleil » in Lausanne with Edith Burger,[1] an anti-Nazi, resistance, gathering place
  • 1947 : he founded the cabaret « Chez Gilles » in Paris
    • discovers Jacques Brel, then an unknown beginner whom he immediately hired.
  • 1955 : « Chez Gilles » in Lausanne

Some well-known works of his


  • 1943, « Les Histoires de Gilles »
  • 1954, « Mon demi siècle », Librérie Payot
  • 1960, « La Venoge et autres poèmes » - images by Géa Augsburg, Editions du Verseau et Librairie Payot, Lausanne
  • 1963, « Chansons que tout cela !», (Le meilleur de Gilles », tome I)
  • 1969, « Mon demi siècle et demi », Payot
  • 1971, « Le dernier mot », (Le meilleur de Gilles", tome II)
  • 1978, « Amicalement vôtre, Récits, chansons et souvenir », Editions Pierre-Marcel Favre

Plays at the Théâtre du Jorat Mézières

  • 1950 « Passage de l'étoile »
  • 1960 « La Grange aux Roud »


  • Albert Urfer, Qui va piano..., 1978
  • Alex Décotte, Le siècle de Gilles, 1995
  • Le meilleur de Gilles (3 tomes), Publi-Libris, 2003 ISBN 2-940251-02-9
  • Joël Aguet (2005). "Jean Villard Gilles". In Andreas Kotte. ]Theater Dictionary of Switzerland [Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer (in Français) 1. Zürich: Chronos. pp. 713/714.  


  1. ^ a b Hommage à EdithVidéo:, an archive from Télévision Suisse Romande

External links

  • Bibliographie
  • de Jean Villard-Gilles and much valuable information on "Vaudois" languageLa VenogePoésie . (This oeuvre is an integral part of the collective memory of a citizen of the canton of Vaud, as they were taught to recite it by heart at school from an early age).
  • Jean Villard GillesVidéo chante et raconte des histoires vaudoises, des vidéos du site des archives de la TSR Télévision Suisse Romande TSR
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