Paul Ricard would have been one hundred years old in 2009. He belonged to this generation born at the time of steamboats, horse-drawn carriages and oil lamp, the generation which went through an industrial revolution and two world wars.

And yet …

In a lifetime, started from nothing, Paul Ricard developed his aperitif in his family house’s attic with the complicity of some little Marseille’s bistros and won the market. Thanks to him the rice culture in Camargues started again and enables to his employees to survivre during the war. he built little Provençal houses in flower gardens and ultramodern factories along the roads, gave back to life two Mediterranean abandoned islands, built himself his own aerodrome and a Formula 1 racing circuit. He painted thousands portraits, supported with enthusiasm the young creation by creating a new cultural sponsorship and produced movies. First of all a humanist, he attached his idea of « popular capitalism » and shared his company’s profit with all the employees. He launched the first environmental campaign in France in order to protect the Sea, established an oceanographic Institute and the list go further ! 

Nothing predisposed Paul Ricard to all of this except his dreams and his spirit which help him to get through obstacles and also the deep conviction he was acting for the common good. He was a leader who knew how to satisfy people of his though pattern. He was a good sense dreamer, a pragmatical visionary.

He was someone who never got bored to observe things ans people and to build worlds, he was a man who viscerally needed to live in a supportive and friendly society and knew better than anyone else how to gather people into big parties.

Come over ! This is Paul Ricard himself, throughout records, who is inviting you to look through his memories album in order relive with him his passion for create … Over this exhibition you will find the group of Saint-Marthe and the one of « le Tour de France ». You will see camels on the Champs Elysées and some Arlesiennes in Rome. You will run into Eric Tabarly and Salvador Dali. You will thrill to the rhythm of thousands adventures and maybe frown because of a tall story from Marseille.

But there is more ! Paul Ricard was one of those big XXe century captain of industry, a pioneer, an entire personnage, rebellious, paradoxical, sweet, not bothered by money and honours. He was a simple man who loved to love and for whom « overhead, onward ! » was the watchword.


Anne Guillaume