In 1938, an inhabitant of Gâtinais set out to cross the Sahara on a motorcycle

Who has never dreamed of discovering in their family tree an ancestor with an exceptional destiny? For a writer, the family heritage can obviously inspire a work … or even help him get a regional scholarship to carry out his project.

Émilie Riger, author living in Amilly, has eight novels to her credits, many news and prizes, such as the “Current Woman – New Authors of the Novel” prize or the prize for the new Quais du thriller. Recently added to these rewards are what the writer considers as “the recognition of his journey” : a regional grant to finance research and the writing of a new book.

“It is an exceptional measure, to help artists, including authors, during this period of health crisis. The date for submitting the project is August 31, 2022. It is not necessarily a question of making a manuscript completely finished but I hope to have made good progress “.

His project is to retrace the journey of a man with an unexpected destiny, born in the Gâtinais, in the family farm of Auvilliers. Nothing predestined the young man of humble origins to become an adventurer, who set off in 1938 for a crossing of the Sahara on a motorcycle. Daniel Douard was Émilie Riger’s grandfather, who also embarked on an adventure: retracing the history of a family from Gâtinais from the end of the 19th century to the immediate post-WWII period.

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“I realized that it was extraordinary to bring this episode back to life, made possible thanks to compulsory military service which marked a break with the original environment.”

Daniel Douard, in his native Gâtinais, dreamed of becoming an aviator. Unfortunately, this turned out to be impossible. Never mind, the young man became “crawling staff”, that is to say ground staff in the army, in Algeria, where he fell in love with the desert. So much so that he became the driver of the Trans-Saharan, a bus service for travelers, before returning to France and joining the Republican Guard.

The young man then nourishes a crazy dream: to demonstrate, at the dawn of the looming world conflict, that it is possible to link two military sites separated by the desert on a light vehicle, in this case a motorcycle. Daniel has never done one, but whatever …

Tribute to those who believed in their dreams

Died in 2007, the former Republican Guard returned to enjoy a peaceful retirement in Montargis spoke little of this adventurous youth. “There is still plenty to discover “, recognizes his granddaughter, who wants to pay tribute in her book to all those who believed in their dreams …

Pascale auditeau



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