Gilles Martin-Chauffier

Gilles Martin-Chauffier comes from Vannes, in Britanny. After studying at the famous business school “ESCP” in Paris and New York, he published his first work, Pourpres, in 1980, thereby launching his career as a novelist. He has since published a number of other novels, including Les Corrompus (winner of the 1998 Interallié prize) and Silence, on ment (winner of the 2003 Renaudot des Lycéens prize). He has been editor-in-chief of Paris Match since 1996, and publishes a literary column every week.

The novel

Week-end in Vienna

Gilles Martin-Chauffier Sofitel Vienne Stephansdom

On Austrian Airlines, the flight attendants are not exactly youthful and they dress in the red and white colors of the Austrian flag. But on Singapore Airlines, I had an altogether different experience a week ago, feeling like I had Gong Li and Bruce Lee at my service. Here on the Airbus bound for Vienna, the message was immediately clear: destination Old Europe. In case you didn’t understand, it was broadcast softly, Johann Strauss’s “Blue Danube” floating throughout the cabin. And why not? It’s certainly more reassuring than the welcome message on Saudi planes, a calligraphic “May God bless you” in Arabic and English written over the entrance. I usually never give him a thought, and so I hate to be reminded of the world champion of miracles and catastrophes – especially when I’m about to fly. That said, here on Austrian Airlines there was no time for fear. Because Germanic rigor reigns, the plane took off exactly at the…

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