©Montauban Tourisme

Famous Montalbanais

Many people have shaped the city of Montauban as it is today. They have marked history by their presence and their actions. Here are listed the famous Montalbanais and their stories.
Ingres and Bourdelle

Both artists have left their mark on art history, and their names are now linked to a must-visit, the Inngres Bourdelle Museum.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

1780 - 1867

The last of the Neoclassical French painters, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was the inventor of an atypical, mannerist canon of female beauty that made him famous. His masterpiece is La Grande Odalisque (1814), which is as much a part of the history of Orientalism as it is of the tradition of the great masters of Western painting. A skilled draughtsman, admirer of Raphael and follower of pure line, Ingres was so influential that other artists, such as Pablo Picasso, came to be inspired by his style as “Ingresism” or the “Ingresque period”. His passion and talent for the violin inspired the expression “having an Ingres violin”.

Antoine Bourdelle


Born in Montauban at n°6 rue de l’Hôtel de ville, a stone’s throw from the museum that now bears his name, Antoine Bourdelle revealed an early aptitude for drawing and sculpture at the age of 13. A student of the sculptor Falguière at the Beaux Arts de Paris, Bourdelle quickly became a practitioner in Rodin’s studio and collaborated with the master for 15 years. His most notable work is Archer Heracles(1910), the original plaster of which is on display at the Ingres Bourdelle Museum in Montauban. 13 sculptures by the artist are freely available for viewing downtown. Bourdelle’s art is also recognized in Paris with the musée Bourdelle and a Jardin-Musée in Egreville (77). For the nostalgic, Bourdelle also inspired the notebook brand for schoolchildren “Herakles”.

Olympe de Gouges

Marie Gouze, known as Olympe de Gouges


Olympe de Gouges was born in 1748 in Montauban in a middle-class environment. Widowed after being married against her will, she joined Paris at the age of 22. Her play L’Esclavage des noirs ou l’heureux naufrage, in which she denounced slavery, caused a scandal. She wrote other plays, but also novels, essays and pamphlets in which she developed her political thought. In 1791, she published the Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens, which she addressed to Marie Antoinette. She joined the Girondins, who opposed the beheading of the king and the violence of the Terror. She died on the guillotine in 1793.

The artists

Hugues Panassié


Hugues Panassié is a French jazz critic and producer. A pioneer in the development of jazz in France, he was an admirer of the early forms of jazz, the “hot” style, as played by Louis Armstrong in the 1930s and all the musicians and singers of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Although he has contributed greatly to the documentation of the early days of jazz, his ideas are controversial. His traditionalism led him to consider bebop as a form of music distinct from jazz, vigorously rejecting it as “unauthentic” music, leading to numerous controversies and a split in the Hot Club de France.

Marcel Lenoir


Marcel-Lenoir was a true artist, he was a jeweler, draftsman, painter, and fresco artist. In 1889, at the age of 17, Marcel-Lenoir, on the advice of his father, headed for Paris. After a period of misery, around 1900, he had his first success and became the Marcel-Lenoir illuminator. A complex, bewitching, fiercely independent character, incapable of compromise with the critics and the art market, he owes his success today only to the intrinsic quality of his work. A musée dedicated to his works is to be discovered in Montricoux (82).

François Desnoyer


French painter, sculptor and lithographer. Marked by the horrors of the First World War, he entered the Decorative Arts in Paris and exhibited a first series of color lithographs. Influenced by Fauvist painters such as Gauguin, he spent most of his life in the Eastern Pyrenees and in particular Saint-Cyprien, the town to which he bequeathed most of his works upon his death. The Collections of Saint-Cyprien can be visited today with the famous painter as the figurehead.

Étienne Roda-Gil

1941 - 2004

Étienne Roda-Gil was an author of more than 747 songs. Julien Clerc, France Gall or even Vanessa Paradis owe him their biggest hits. In particular, he is the lyricist of Alexandrie, Alexandra, probably the biggest hit of Claude Francois.

Recognized in the world of French song, he has marked the cultural heritage of some masterpieces. Juliette Gréco said of him: “I quickly understood that he was a human being, which is not so common.

These heroes who have marked the history of the city

Adolphe Poult


Son of the boss of the Montalban cookie factory Poult, young Adolphe distinguished himself during the so-called “flood of the century” in March 1930. With his courage alone, he saved dozens of people from drowning in a simple canoe on the flooded Tarn River. After almost a full day of saving lives, it was during one of these rescues that Adolphe Poult stumbled in the tumultuous waters and could not return to his boat. He died drowned at the age of 34. A square bears his name in Montauban, where a bust pays tribute to him.

Monsignor Théas and Marie-Rose Gineste

Monsignor Pierre-Marie Théas (1894 – 1977), Righteous among the “Righteous”. Bishop of Montauban in 1940, he assisted in his last moments, as a spiritual guide, Manuel Azana, Republican, President of the Spanish Republic in 1936, in exile, hunted and hounded by the Francoists. The roundup of August 26 revolted him: publication of a pastoral letter on “respect for the human person” which was read “without comment” on Sunday, May 30, 1942, by most of the priests of the diocese assuredly courageous.

Marie-Rose Gineste (1911 – 2010). Official secretary of Bishop Théas, she helped the refugees, participated in the elaboration of a spirit of resistance through reflection and debate. She collected vital information for the resistance fighters in the field, and provided help and shelter to all those hunted down by the Gestapo, regardless of their origins or their political or ideological affiliation. Marie-Rose Gineste is a Just and her bicycle is on display in a Jerusalem museum.

André Jeanbon Saint-André


Raised by the Jesuits, Jeanbon Saint-André was a French navigator who made his mark on French history in blue white red during the French Revolution. Indeed, history credits him with the creation of the famous tricolor flag. Sitting on the Committee of Public Salvation, more specifically in charge of the military navy, Jeanbon Saint-André had it decreed on February 15, 1794 that “the national flag will be formed of the three national colors, arranged in vertical bands, so that the blue will be attached to the gaule of the flag, the white in the middle and the red floating in the air.” His grave is in Mainz, Germany and is still maintained.

Janine Garrisson

1932 - 2019

Janine Garrisson is a French historian, professor of modern history, and novelist who specializes in sixteenth-century French political and religious history, especially Protestantism.

The majority of her research has focused on Protestantism in France. In particular, she is credited with a state thesis, Protestants du Midi: 1559-1598 completed in 1977. She was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres.

Caroline Aigle

1974 - 2007

Caroline Aigle is a fighter pilot, Commander in the French Air Force. She is the first female fighter pilot to be assigned to an Air Force combat squadron.

An accomplished sportswoman and distinguished pilot, the City of Montauban paid tribute to her by installing a helicopter on a roundabout at the city gates.