The real life “Elzéard Bouffier”

Hi everyone,

I wasn’t planning a post until Tuesday, but I stumbled upon this article that I just had to share.  It is about a man in India who single-handedly planted a forest and has been doing it for 30 years!  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  We have a real life “Elzéard Bouffier”!  His name is Jadav Payeng and he chose a life of isolation to care for the trees.  I wonder if he knows of the famous Giono story about Elzéard planting thousands of trees on barren land in Provence…

Being an environmentalist and supporter of local and organic farming, both the Giono story and Mr. Payeng really strike a chord with me.  Bravo Mr. Payeng!


About Mme Martin

I am a high school French teacher in Ontario, Canada. I've been a teacher for the last 14 years and I love what I do. I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching by learning from my colleagues, reading, attending conferences and workshops. I also completed a Masters of Education degree, specializing in Second Language Acquisition. My goal is to increase students' oral fluency in French and I would like to share this journey with you in the hopes that you will find new ideas and be inspired to do the same. I will let you know what I try in my classes and what works and what doesn't. I hope you will find a wealth of ideas to use in your class.
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3 Responses to The real life “Elzéard Bouffier”

  1. Odali Maria Schaker says:

    Acabei de vir da escola e estivemos vendo o “O Homem que Plantava Árvores” e estava eu aqui procurando saber se o tal Elzeard Bouffier era uma ficcção ou teria existido de verdade, então encontrei sua página. Sou professora e trabalhávamos sobre o desmatamento. O vídeo ilustrou a aula.

    • Mme Martin says:


      Actually, Elzéard Bouffier is fictional, according to the author, Jean Giono. The article in the blog post is referring to another man in India who has really been planting trees for the last 30 years. I found the article while I was teaching “L’homme qui plantait des arbres” and I couldn’t believe that there is actually someone who is doing what is described in Giono’s story. Maybe Mr. Payeng was inspired by Giono’s story? Who knows….

      • John Parsons says:

        Not sure if he´s fictional. I have an English translation dated 1992 whiich says that he died peacefully in 1947 at the hospice in Banon. Google Map shows a place in Provence called Vergons, surrounded by trees. Banon is 100 km away. Google Earth also located Vallée de la Durrance. If anyone is able to contact the local French Forestry Service, they may find memories of the real person.

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