CHILDHOOD - TEENAGE YEARS (1944 à 1964)
I was born in a very exotic place, in Tamatave, Madagascar, where my father used to work as a civil servant in what was "Overseas France"? Do not ask me for remembrances of Madagascar, I left at the age of 2 or 3, and I remember nothing...
In 1946, My family settles down of the Atlantic shores of Canada, in the small French island of Saint Pierre & Miquelon; for two stays of 3 years each. To get there, I cross 4 times the Atlantic on Liners, but if I sometimes sail small sailboat models on ponds in St Pierre, the Call of the Sea doesn't reach me yet !
1954> : After staying one year in Marseilles (Endoume's Roseraie Primary school and Marseilleveyre high school), we settle down for 4 years in Cameroon.
In 1958, back from the "Colonies", we stay in turn in Thonon-les-bains, Annecy and Grenoble in the French Alps; first an average student, I become a brilliant one, gathering all sorts of prizes and eventually studying for Frances uppermost civil engineering school, Ecole Centrale de Paris My first meeting with Music and with the Road : American friends make me discover Folk music ; I will spend all of the summer of 64 crisscrossing the Eastern USA. my hair will find the time to grow there.
1964> : During my last two years of study at Ecole Centrale, I get more interested in Music than in thermodynamics ! After spending a whole summer hitchhiking across Europe, and passing the hat around when singing at café terraces, I look for a place in Paris where I could sing a few songs to make some pocket money for my last year of college....
SINGER 1965 - 1969
...Instead, I find a recording contract ; my first single has a limited success, but the album that follows, The Elucubrations ("Antoine's Divagations") meets with an incredible success : in May 66, (the same day when I pass my last exam), I top the bill at Paris'Olympia Music Hall. En 1967> : The same thing happens in Italy, where another song "Pietre" disclosed to Italian audiences at San Remo's Festival, opens a series of huge hits : for 5 years, I will be sometimes feel more Italian than French !
De 1967-74> : Life in "Show-Business has good sides, but to tell the truth, if it gives me a chance to travel (to Brazil, Italy, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Greece..) it doesn't satisfy me to see of each country only its airport, television studios and hotels...
SINGER - SAILOR 1969 - 1991
What a fortune, this summer 69,> by pure chance, I discover Sailing, on a small leaking plywood boat included in the inventory of a house I have rented on the French Riviera for a month. Quickly, I decide that at the age of 30, in 1974; I will "retire" and sail around the world on a sailboat; initially, I plan to travel with aa group of friends; but each one of them experiences changes in his life, preventing them from going , so I decide I will sail solo. In 1974>, After satisfying a few of my wishes ( MCing TV shows, performing in a Musical in Paris, singing in a about ten different languages), I sail off at the planned time , on board a 47 ft Steel schooner, Om, for 5 years. 28 years later, the travelling goes on ! 1977>, Jacques Arthaud, French publisher specialized in sailing books has sent me a letter, that has reached me in Rio de Janeiro; my first book comes out in 1977, its called "Globe-Flotteur" (Globe-Floater"); 6 more books will be published by the same publisher. 1980, >Om's cruise around the world is complete : I record an easy going adaptation of a Polynesian traditional chant," Hoe ana"; it becomes a hit in France. 1981, >I sail again, this time on a small sloop, Voyage, 33 ft long, made of thick aluminium; for 8 years, it will take me to Brasil to Quebec and to Polynesia; I record a few albums with songs inspired from my travels, and a practical book I have written about long distance sailing "Mettre les Voiles" ("Setting Sail"), is published in France.1989,> Voyage has been sold, in Tahiti, and I fly back to France to build a new 42 foot catamaran, Banana Split, Gallimard publishes a photo album "Iles. était une fois" ("Once. upon an Island") that meets with huge success; in its wake Gallimard will publish several other of my photo albums.
SINGER - SAILOR - PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILM MAKER 1991 - 2005
1991, I have left the boat for a while and flown around the world in 80 days to photography about 30 places that make me dream. I suddenly decide I will film them too.. my first "home made" documentary film "Amoureux de la Terre " ("In love with the Earth") meets with encouraging success; from then on, I will produce, write and direct one or two films each year; the 12 films in the series "Once.. Upon an Island", distributed by Warner Home Video in VHS and DVD, are published in several countries and dubbed (by myself" in several languages . 9 of the films are broadcast on Discovery's Travel Channel..
>In 1998>, Banana Split crosses its wake at the foot of Diamond Rock, off the shores of Martinique, having sailed around the world. After a wide circle cruise around the Atlantic, I return to the Caribbean and Central America.
>1999 : Should I build a new boat after 10 years ? I realize I would build practically the same boat ! So I just get new engines, new sails and various accessories, and off I sail again.
In october 2001, Warner Home Video releases the 13th film in the series "Once Upon an Island" : Secret Caribbean, dedicated to about twenty little known islands or archipelagoes in the Caribbean, where nature has kept its rights. Sailing for eight month, I leave the San Blas islands with stopovers at Cocos island, in the Galapagos, and most of all, three indimenticable months in the Gambier and Tuamotu. Then I return to France to become a singer again ! For the first time in 15 years, I sing on stage with a backing group, at the Petit Journal Montparnasse, in Paris... while I simultaneously launch new projects for a book, a film, and, of course, more journeys !
2003,a very active year : We release the DVD and the audio CD of the shows I have given at Petit Journal Montparnasse in Paris last November ( I sing there again four times in 2003) An album of photographs is published by Editions de la Martinière, "The Most Beautiful island in the World", as well as a Video-DVD with the same title by Warner Home Video. New shooting, in a fascinating island, Madagascar. Any sailing ? Of course : a few weeks in Tahiti and Moorea, but most of all, I return to the Tuamotus, and by the end of the year, to the Gambier for a few more wonderful months in this small dream archipelago. 2004 : Lots of sailing this year 2004 : two months in the Gambier, then shooting in the Seychelles ten new programs fot the French Voyage channel; shooting of a new film in Tahiti, Moorea and the LeewardIslands; two months in the Tuamotus; three weeks in the Leeward Islands, including hauling out in Raiatea; then I painfully leave French Polynesia ; I make stopovers in Mopelia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, in Wallis, then Banana SPlit waits for me a few weeks in New Caledonia while I present in France my new film : Madagascar.
SINGER - SAILOR - PHOTOGRAPHER - REALISATEUR (2005 to today)
2005 : What a year! I sail for two months around New Caledonia; then a new shooting for my sponso, the group of Optometrists called ATOL, in Cuba ; followed by a trip around the world in 75 days and 45 flights to bring back footage of Patagonia, Easter island, the Marquesas, New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia, Bali, Cambodia, Madagascar, the Cape of Good Hope and Botswana. Then we have shot for the French Voyage channel, with lovely Keen de Kermadec, ten shows dedicated to ten islands or archipalgoes on the planet. At the same time Hermé publishes another photo album "D'Îles en Îles" ( from island to island), 424 pages of photographs of 52 islands or archipelagoes.
I sail New Caledonia again, from Surprise atoll to the Nortwest to the Isle of Pines, then I return to france for the publication of two works : the new DVD dedicated to frenc Polynesia "Tahiti, return to Paradise" ; and a box of 3 DVDs gathering the 10 cooking programs "Antoine celebrates cooking" in coproduction with the Voyage channel; I am booked on many TV and radio shows until the Paris Boat show, before I return to my catamaran, now in New Zealand.
2006-2008 :After sailing for a long time in New Zealand, and realizing various maintenance and repair works on Banana Split, I sail singlehanded back to French Polynesia, discovering on the way another perfect island : Raivavae, in the Australs. For the three following years I will sail long periods, alone or with Francette, through the three archipelagoes that now have my preference : The Gambier, the Australs, ad the Tuamotus.
Simultaneously, we continue shooting in High Definition, and among the first in France, we release the first Blu-Ray discs in our new HD series : Patagonia and New Zealand ( 2007) then Austral Africa and New Caledonia ( in 2008). Simultaneously, Arthaud, who has published my first books since 1977 ! ) releases the two volumes of my autobiography : Oh Yeah (1944-1974, published in 2007) and "Au bout de mes rêves" (1974-2004, in 2008). I have frequent appointments with the audience of Connaissance du Monde lectures, where I show my films about Madagascar and Tahiti. At the end of 2007, I'm the main guest in very popular French TV show "L'invité du Dimanche" with Michel Drucker; on that occasion, Sony BMG releases a compilation of 75 of the songs I have recorded for Vogue and RCA : close to half of them had never been released in CD form. And I discover the text of my hit song of the sixties "Les Elucubrations"... in the History schoolbook of my son in his graduation year. In the field of glasses, the "ATOL" saga goes on, this time we shoot with Word Class Top Model Adriana Karembeu.