Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian. Agnes and Pierre Rosenstiehl. Gallimard, 1981.

Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Books that make you travel, I love them. I just found an illustrated album that was one of my favorite books when I was a kid: Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian.

The authors are Agnes Rosenstiehl (the mischievous Mimi Cracra) and her husband Pierre, at Gallimard. An out of print edition from 1981!

Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian. Agnes and Pierre Rosenstiehl. Gallimard, 1981.

I'm getting back into it with delight. And understand better, with my adult look, why this book exerted such a fascination on my mind as a dreamy little girl. It's a real travel story, full of encounters, details, anecdotes, a story full of humour, illustrated by small comic book boxes depicting the journey of two young travellers, Marco and Pierrot. It starts like this:

The Nord-Express
Fire! We're on a course of 10,834 kilometers. Paris to Beijing, it's simple: just a train change in Moscow. From the Gare du Nord station, every day at 5:13 p.m., platform 3, the Nord-Express leaves to scatter its wagons all over Northern Europe, to Münster, Bremen, Cologne, Hamburg, Copenhagen...
We embark in a very remarkable wagon: Russian, with Russian insignia, the only wagon for Moscow! The wagon conductor asks you in Russian for your passports and tickets. And "Niet, niet! ", no visitors in the Russian wagon of the North Station.

--I have never taken the Trans-Siberian. But to reach Asia without flying, by land, is an old dream that I intend to achieve one day.

I remembered this book thanks to a message posted a few days ago on Facebook by my fellow Quebecois Marie-Julie Gagnon His little daughter asked him for his Dora suitcase, to "play traveling at home, Mommy! »

So I saw myself "playing the Trans-Siberian Railway" in my train compartment. homemadewith my favourite book on my knees, absorbed in the contemplation of the imaginary landscapes that were scrolling through the imaginary window, seriously preparing myself for the announced stops: Moscow, Olan-Bator, Beijing... And then there was this incredible ascent of the time zones at the slow pace of the train.

I then launched a search on the Internet, to find "my" book, obviously out of print. I ended up finding it on the used book site. Abebooks. It was the first time I ordered online from them. Super fast and efficient. As soon as you order, as soon as you get it! And the book is in good condition, as they said.

Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian

--It is in this book, too, that I learned how to handle chopsticks... and I continue, today, to give this very judicious advice to those who find it difficult to get used to them: "It holds like two pencils! »

For those who, like me, love to travel virtually thanks to the Internet, you can take the Trans-Siberian Railway without leaving your living room: on (a project associating the Russian Railways and Google), there are videos and interactive maps, to complete the journey, step by step, from Moscow to Vladivostok. You have to click on the names in the block located at the bottom right to go from one video to the other.

Finally, because the trip can also be immobile, nourished by readings and dreams, I'm here to pay homage to the poet Baudelaire, always inspiring ...

For the child in love with cards and prints,
The universe is equal to his vast appetite.
Ah! How big the world is by the light of the lamps!
But the real travelers are those who leave
to leave; light hearts, like balloons,
From their inevitability they never depart,
And, without knowing why, always say: Come on!
Baudelaire - The trip


  Between Two Journeys

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  1. Joli billet. Je comprends ta joie d’avoir retrouvé cet album. 😀
    Your ticket shows how children's books mark us, fit within us and shape us. They travel (and even if they do not talk about travel). I think that the most successful ones are those that touch us by simple and fundamental things of the world, those who say the unspeakable (because many things are still when we are children).
    Pour ma part, je me souviens de Hulul, le hibou d’Arnold Lobel, qui essaye d’être à la fois en haut et en bas de l’escalier. Une jolie image pour dire des choses sur le désir d’être à deux endroits en même temps. Et en plus il se faisait du thé aux larmes… 🙂
    Quant au Transsibérien, je me suis souvent imaginée aller chercher du thé bouillant au samovar du wagon, la nuit et le siroter en regardant le noir et le ciel qui serait – forcément – étoilé. 😉

  2. J’adore! 🙂 Ça m’a beaucoup inspirée, cet échange sur les livres. Une nouvelle idée de bouquin s’est mise à germer…
    And I also love the trip that offers Google, which should be a ticket on my side also when I'm done with Disney (I hold back since I saw the news last week ... hard, hard! Lol)!

  3. @Married: Nice comment too. Very just. Children's books mark us more than adult books, right? And I remember Hulul's tears tea ...
    @ Marie-Julie: Here, question books for children, you know what you have to do now ... As for the Transsiberian via Google, do not hold back, I'm looking forward to read your post on the subject!

  4. Hello,
    Thank you for this link really great!
    Child, to travel, there was Tintin and Snowy, Asterix and Obelix, and of course the atlases that have never left their favorite place ... You know, I imagine the show "Hello planet" on France-Inter
    Very friendly, with stories and impressions of passionate people.

    Ciao and good bubbles!

    PS. It will be Tioman for me in 15 days. I was there 8 years ago, I hope the island has kept its charm so special!

  5. "Children's books mark us more than adult books, right? "
    I think like you. Maybe because we are more permeable child, maybe because a child's book that pleases is a book that has been read and re-read. Like your "Paris-Beijing by the Trans-Siberian". So it's a book that has a little music (even more when the book is read aloud). She creeps into us. It opens much wider doors, imaginary and inner journeys behind images and words. They are funny, sensitive or serious. And it's great!
    J’espère que les paysages, que tu découvriras un jour, le long du Transsibérien seront aussi chouettes que tes paysages imaginaires. Perso, j’avais été un tantinet déçue quand j’ai découvert la vraie rue Broca, une rue que j’avais fantasmée après avoir lu et relu Les Contes de la rue Broca (de Pierre Gripari). 😛

  6. @Rod: Ah, yes, "Hello planet" is often in the background at home at night ... Bon voyage to Tioman!

    @Married: Yes, rarer are my "adult" books that I re-read with passion, like some of my "children's" books. I'm laughing in front of my screen, because we have obviously devoured the same best-sellers of the youth literature, and I must admit having experienced an identical disappointment by discovering the rue Mouffetard ... (because of "The witch of the street Mouffetard", which is one of the "Tales of Broca Street", if I'm not mistaken

  7. There is a really nice film about China made in the 50s and colorized.
    "The kite from the end of the world"
    Congratulations for the little bubbles ... of air.

  8. Very interesting ... thanks. I also advise another book, that of Géraldine Dunbar, "alone on the Trans-Siberian, 1001 lives from Moscow to Vladivostok" at Transboreal. Very moving story. A +, Olivier.

  9. @Fabrice: it would be a very nice trip, that, Mongolia ... Otherwise, I imagine that for Indonesia, you talk about the price of the flight from Polynesia (where you live, if I'm not mistaken)? For the mag, yes, I saw and downloaded there is already a moment ... but not yet had the time to really plunge into it. Now that I'm on vacation, I will finally be able to discover it quietly !!!
    @ogauthier: Thanks also for the reading suggestion!

    @lePierrot: You should find some of your own memories in this book ...

  10. Moi je m’étais renseigné pour rentrer en France en Transsibérien. Pour un Pekin Paris et bien ce n’est pas donné ! Il faut compter 1000€ pour une semaine de voyage, en comptant visa, bouffe et billets. Du coups je rentre en avion 😀

  11. It is true that it is not given but it must be a superb trip especially when we see the images and stories of travelers!

  12. @henribo: Thank you for this testimony and share the link !!! This trip in particular is really a dream machine ...
    @Amandine: Ah, I see on your blog that you put the Trans-Siberian on your "to do list" ...

  13. Les dessins de l’auteur de Mimi Cracra?! Tu sors un sacré gros dossier-là! On était de super copines Mimi Cracra et moi… et j’apprends qu’elle voyage 🙂

    I would completely fall for this album. You have to take on those kinds of regressive urges, right?