l'Auberge aux Noyés - 1
L'AUBERGE AUX NOYES - The inn of the drowned - The drowned men's inn - Georges Simenon, 1938 (La Rochelle)
The story - a summary
When Maigret stays in the town of Nemours for some minor business, an event occurs in the surroundings that draws his attention.
On the road from Nemours to Montargis, near the so-called "l'Auberge aux Noyés" (Inn of the drowned), a truck has run up against a car during the night and has pushed it in the river Loing.
When it is rigged from the river, the corpse of a woman in her forties is discovered in the trunk of the car.
The owner of the car appears to be a young man called Jean Vertbois, a Parisian, who arrived two days before at the inn in the company of a 17-year old girl. But both have disappeared.
Maigret carries out a reconstitution of the event by accompanying the driver of the truck, Joseph Lecoin along the same route as the night of the accident.
Several details turn out to be dubious. The frightened Lecoin admits to him that actually he managed to avoid the car. Vertbois, who was there at that time, had paid him to push the vehicle in the river.
He told him that he wanted to simulate a suicide because the father of the girl, Vivian le Pommeraye, did not want to hear about marriage.
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La nuit du
Lecoin then took along Vertbois and the girl to a friend in Montargis. Maigret goes to Montargis and discovers and arrests Vertbois. The frightened girl has fled
and will be found in the town of Bourges.
The corpse found in the car is that of Marthe Dorval, mistress of Vertbois. He assassinated her to get the money he needed to run away with Viviane. (1)
La guinguette
à deux sous
L' inspecteur
Les larmes
de bougie
Analysis of the locality
Vente à la
The story is set between Nemours and Montargis, 100 km (62 mi) to the south of Paris, on the border between the departments Seine et Marne and Loiret department in the beautiful surroundings of the canal du Loing.
La maison
du juge
Mon ami
Maigret à
l'Auberge aux
Noyés - 1
l'Auberge aux
Noyés - 2
Le notaire de
M.Gallet, décédé
Le charretier de
"La Providence"
Chez les
Photos: Alain Charmetant
The main route between Nemours and Montargis, the N7, runs along the river Loing, at some places the river and the road are only a few meters apart. The river itself is not navigable but next to it there is the narrow Canal du Loing where small cargo-vessels can navigate.
The accident
Maigret is staying (over) in Nemours at the home of a captain of the Gendarmerie (2). Early in the morning the captain calls upon Maigret to accompany him.

"- Do you sleep, commissioner?
- No, I do not sleep!
- There was this curious accident during the night, at fifteen kilometers from here. Do you want to come?" (3)

"Then, after an accident like this, one does not drive twenty kilometers to notify the police when there is a telephone right near by." (3)

According to the captain the accident happened at 15 km (9.3 mi) from Nemours. Further on in the story is mentioned that the inn is at 20 km (12.4 mi) from Montargis.
Presumably the distances mentioned by Simenon are not quite accurate because at 15 km from Nemours we find ourselves already in the Loiret department.

"Then the truck driver carried on to Montargis, where he alerted the police. The spot where the accident took place fell within the competence of the police of Nemours." (3)

This means that the accident occurred in the Seine et Marne department and therefore closer to Nemours.
The Inn
"At the edge of the river Loing, where the road follows the river, between Nemours and Montargis.
There was no village. Only the inn, the Inn of the Fishermen, at seven hundred meters, and Maigret knew already that in the area the inn was more usually called the Inn of the Drowned." (3)

"- So you went towards the river?
- I was there so to speak, considering that, at that spot, the canal and the river Loing are not twenty meters apart." (3)

During the reconstruction, when Maigret accompanies the driver in his truck, coming from Nemours and after stopping on the spot where the accident occurred, they drive along...

"One passed already opposite the Inn of the Drowned, whose four windows were enlightened...." (3)

This shows that the Inn is further down the road to Montargis.
Five elements
Five elements are pinpointing to the exact location:
1. the site is to be found in the Seine et Marne department, closer to Nemours than is mentioned in the story.
2. the road and the river must be side by side for the car to end up in the river after being run into by the truck.
3. the canal and the river are also very close together at that spot.
4. there is, or at one time was, an inn at 700 m from the place of the accident.
5. the accident-site is situated north of the position of the Inn.
Street in Nemours Entry to Montargis coming from Nemours
Go to l'Auberge aux Noyés - 2
From top to bottom:
- Composition of a drawing of Maigret's silhouette from the cover of: Georges Simenon, "Maigret hesite", Presses de la Cite, Paris and map on http://www.1bis.com/1bis/. Design G. de Croock.
- Map by:Route 66, Route Europa 2000, Copyright Route 66 Geographic Information Systems B.V., Ede (NL). Adaptation by G. De Croock.
- Photos of the Canal du loing by Alain Charmetant: Charmes Nautiques - Boat-rent at http://www.charmes-nautiques.com/0_indexframe_e.htm email: alain.charmetant@charmes-nautiques.com
- Map by:Route 66, Route Europa 2000, Copyright Route 66 Geographic Information Systems B.V., Ede (NL). Adaptation by G. De Croock.
- Map by:Route 66, Route Europa 2000, Copyright Route 66 Geographic Information Systems B.V., Ede (NL). Adaptation by G. De Croock.
- Mediasys - Images de la France d'autrefois. Old postcard of the town of Nemours, Rue de l'Hôtel de Ville.
- Mediasys - Images de la France d'autrefois. Old postcard of the entry of the town of Montargis.

(1) Translation and compilation from: Maurice Piron, L'Univers de Simenon, Presses de la Cité, Paris, 1983, p.446. Translation of excerpt: G. de Croock.
(2) Gendarmerie (Fr.) = comparable with State Troopers in the US.
(3) Georges Simenon, l'Auberge aux Noyés, 1938. Excerpt translated in English by G. de Croock out of: Georges Simenon, Oeuvres complètes IX, Editions Rencontre, Lausanne, 1967.
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La nuit du carrefour - 1, - 2
La guinguette à deux sous - 1, - 2
L' inspecteur Cadavre - 1, - 2, - 3
Les larmes de bougie - 1, - 2
Vente à la bougie - 1, - 2
La maison du juge - 1, - 2, - 3
Mon ami Maigret - 1, - 2, - 3
Maigret à Vichy - 1, - 2
l'Affaire Saint-Fiacre - 1, - 2
l'Auberge aux Noyés - 1, - 2
Le notaire de Chéteauneuf - 1, - 2
M.Gallet, décédé - 1, - 2, - 3
Le charretier de "La Providence" - 1, - 2
Chez les Flamands - 1, - 2