Rene Goscinny is widely hailed as a literary giant in France. Thus, there are statues in his honor.
There are also streets named after him. Those are much easier to make happen. So far, I’ve found seven of them. Let’s break them down, starting with the biggest one.
(Photo credit information: Unless otherwise mentioned, the images you see of these places comes from Google Street View. The maps are screenshots from Google Maps.)
A Walk In Paris
A street in Paris’ 13th arrondissement was named after Rene Goscinny on March 1, 2001. It runs 175 meters between Avenue de France and Quai Panhard et Levassor, on the west side of the Seine.
I’m sure Anne Goscinny was there when the street was officially renamed, but I can’t find an article about it….
Google Maps: Paris, France
Let’s dig a little deeper on this one:
Word Balloons on the Street
Decorating the length of the street is a series of word balloons with famous quotes from Goscinny’s various series. Starting on the Seine side of the street and working towards Avenue de France, let’s take a look at all of them.
We start on the Quai Panhard et Levassor, with this most memorable quote from Asterix on the corner:
Let’s get a little closer to it for better reading:
Yes, that’s “These Romans are crazy!”, first seen in “Asterix the Gladiator“:
The street sign underneath indicates that this is, indeed, Rue Rene Goscinny, with a little notice that he was a writer and a comic book storyteller. There are a lot of streets in the area named after famous people, and each bears a sign like this to explain who that person is.
Up next is, in quick succession, two from “Lucky Luke”:
I’m such a geek that I knew it was Lucky Luke from the lettering first, and from “Joe” (Dalton) second.
The next sign is also from Lucky Luke:
That’s the big dumb Dalton brother who, come to think of it, is like Obelix in some ways. In fact, I originally thought this was an Obelix quote, until I noticed the lettering style was more Morris’.
Look to Lucky Luke v28, “The Dalton Cousins” for this panel on the very first page:
Then we get back to the Asterix quotes, starting with this one that’s more obscure to me, but must have made quite the impact on French readers:
I admit that I had to look up that quote. (“It is fresh, my fish! It is fresh!”) It shows up in “Asterix and Obelix’s Birthday: The Golden Book.” In English editions, that’s volume 34.
Finally, at the other end of Rue Rene Goscinny is this classic:
That is from this panel in Asterix volume 4, “Asterix the Gladiator“:
In my research for this article, I saw one picture of another sign on the street that I can’t find in the current Google Street View. Given how much general vandalism you find along this street, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was destroyed somewhere along the line.
I love this next sign. You don’t need to know much French to figure this one out:
Photo credit: User:Thbz / CC BY-SA
Yes, that’s the front page of all the Asterix books, giving the back story of it being 50 BC, all of Gaul being Roman controlled, life isn’t easy for the Roman garrisons, etc. etc.
What’s On the Street?
Wait, I think I can translate that into French, thanks to DuoLingo: Quoi dans la rue?
It’s just a street in Paris, really. There’s your usual assortment of things at either end — a bakery, a diner, an office building, a subway stop. There’s a post office at one of the interior cross streets.
But hidden deep in the middle of Rue Rene Goscinny is where things get interesting:
My favorite part of this is how the mural gets its face automatically blurred out by Google Maps. It looks nice and is vaguely familiar, like a story from Heavy Metal or something. I assume that’s the French flag colors on the helmet?
You can see the Asterix art at the bottom there, with Asterix and Obelix holding up an alarm clock on top of the Chieftain’s Shield, where Vitalstatistix is usually is standing. Chief Vitalstatistix is over to the right shaking his fist and shouting, “WEKUPiiX”! (Bonus points for using the lowercase-I letters there!) I guess that’s “Wakeupix”? There’s probably some deeper French political meaning to it that I just don’t know about.
Right across the street from it is the offices of the Ligue National de Handball. Yes, the National Handball League has offices on Rue Rene Goscinny.
But they’re not the only ones. Let’s stroll back down the street a bit. This is 11 Rue Rene Goscinny. It’s a simple looking office building. No splashy neon signs or window treatments:
Let’s pull a CSI now, zoom in and magnify it:
Yup, it’s the offices of our friends over at Izneo!
One more landmark of note on the street:
It’s tough to read given the lighting and the size of the image, but that’s the “Centre D’Animation Rene Goscinny,” which I don’t think you need me to translate for you.
What do they do? I’m still not sure. Here’s how they describe themselves:
Fully committed to local life in connection with its various partners, it is a place of experimentation on which each inhabitant can rely to participate in the life of the district by sharing their desires and ideas.
It’s an art school of some sort, I think, judging by their website and YouTube page. If you need to hear an amateur French version of “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hanson” performed in perfect social isolation, they’ve got you covered.
Let’s move on now to some other Rues Rene Goscinny:
The Shopping District – Angouleme
Google Maps: Angouleme, France
It should come as no surprise that there’s a Rue Rene Goscinny in the home town of the Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulême.
It’s pedestrian-only and filled with nothing but stores and restaurants. It’s an outdoor mall, basically, set inside a very old town. The buildings are old and cool, though. If you’re at the festival and need some designer duds or glasses or something, I know just the street for you…
Industrial Goscinny – La Roche Sur Yon
Google Maps: La_Roche_Sur_Yon
The next Rue Rene Goscinny is in La-Roche-sur-Yon, France.
It’s an industrial section of town, with nothing of comics interest on it. This is not the romantic France-Is-The-Nation-Of-Love kind of things. It’s in the western section of France, not too terribly far from the ocean/Bay of Biscay.
It reminds me a bit of a seaside town, but also of a desert town, all at the same time. Every building is low to the ground. They all have adobe roofs. There’s little grass.
If you need a house painted or your car fixed, though, this is the place for you.
If there’s a sign maker on the street, though, skip it. They’re not taking good care of the one that marks their own street:
A Comic Fan’s Dream Neighborhood – Orvault
Google Maps: Orvault, France
This Rue Rene Goscinny is a suburban area in Orvault, just north of Nantes. This is Place Rene Goscinny:
It’s a relatively short street with not a lot of houses on it. It’s super interesting, though, because of the surrounding streets:
Place Rene Goscinny connects to Rue Herge (Tintin), Rue Hugo Pratt (Corto Maltese), Rue Robert Velter (i.e. Rob-Vel, creator of Spirou), Rue Louis Forton (whose ‘Les Pieds Nickélés’ is said to be an influence on Goscinny), and Rue Jean de Brunhof (creator of Babar).
Other neighboring streets go down a more musical route, including Rue Franz Liszt (my favorite composter, actually), Rue George Bizet, and Rue Frederic Chopin.
Who wouldn’t want to live on a street named after the creator of Spirou, Tintin, or Asterix? Beats growing up on a street named after a tree type, the street’s developers, or a local politician.
The Most Non-Descript Rue Rene Goscinny – Toulouse
Google Maps: Toulouse, France
We’re even further south than Angouleme now, in Toulouse.
This is one of the shortest of the Rues Rene Goscinny. There’s an elementary school on it, a real estate agency, and a mostly empty strip mall/office thingy. That’s it.
But, hey, it would be pretty cool to be a kid going to a school on a street named after Asterix’s creator, right? ( I checked: The school is named after a different French writer.)
Like the street in Orvault, this one crosses over with a Rue Herge. I should also note that there’s a Rue Herge in Angouleme, as well. Goscinny and Herge keep chasing after each other… And Herge wasn’t even French!
The Unmapped Street – La Chapelle Sur Erdre
Google Maps: La Chapelle-sur-Erdre
To be complete in this listing, we must mention Rue Rene Goscinny in La Chapelle-sur-Erdre. Like so many of these streets, this one is near Nantes. Sadly, like a couple of the others, this one is nothing to write home about.
In fact, Google Street View doesn’t even offer us a picture of the street, itself. You can only look in on it. I’m guessing it’s a private townhouse development, so Google Street View isn’t bothering — or can’t — shoot it.
At least the sign at the start of the road is in good shape!
The Street That Didn’t Exist Yet – Eysines
Google Map: Eysines, France
This one is also not mapped by Google’s Street View car, so I’ll just give you the satellite view:
See all those white buildings on the right side of the satellite view? Here’s the boots-on-the-ground look at that section of land:
It looks like the satellite view is much more up to date than Street View. That empty farm field got paved over and some more buildings — condos/townhouses/apartments — sprung up on the land. That also explains why there’s a clear view of Rue Rene Goscinny from the other side of the block in Street View, but nothing from this angle. It doesn’t exist yet in Street View time!
In fact, if you continue down this street from this view, it abruptly ends at more farm land, which has since likewise been paved over with lots of new buildings taking its place. It looks like housing of some sort, but it’s tough to tell.
It looks like this might just be the newest Rue Rene Goscinny. The sign even looks new still:
The fun fact on this location is that there’s another new street up the road a bit that runs parallel to Rue Rene Goscinny. Likewise unmapped by Google, it’s named Rue Moebius.
I’m starting to like this developer….
What Have We Learned From This Trip?
People like naming streets after famous people, whether they have good reason to do so or not.
It makes sense to have one in Paris, and it’s even better that a digital comics distributor has its offices on that street. It’s neat that a developer or two named a bunch of new roads with a theme of comics creators.
But, every now and then, there’s just a random road with a famous name attached to it for no good reason that I can think of. Maybe the developer was a fan and had to name the street something, anyway? Does the world need another “Main Street,” after all? Why not pick a favorite comics writer for the job?
I know I’d love to visit the one in Paris with my camera and get some better pictures for you. But I’d like to live in Orvault in a neighborhood of classic cartoonist names — next to a neighborhood of classical music names.