Chantal Thomas

Chantal Thomas (born 1945, in Lyon) is a French writer and historian. Her 2002 book, Farewell, My Queen, won the Prix Femina and was adapted into a 2012 film starring Diane Kruger and Léa Seydoux.

Chantal Thomas
Lyon, France
GenreEuropean history
Historical fiction
Notable worksLes adieux à la reine
Le Testament d'Olympe
L'esprit de conversation
Notable awardsPrix Femina


Thomas was born in Lyon in 1945, and was raised in Arcachon, Bordeaux, and Paris. Her life has included teaching jobs at American and French universities (such as Yale and Princeton) as well as a publishing career. She has published nineteen works, including essays on the Marquis de Sade, Casanova, and Marie Antoinette.[1]

In 2002, Thomas published Les adieux à la reine (Farewell, My Queen). The novel gave a fictional account of the final days of Marie Antoinette in power through the perspective of one of her servants. It won the Prix Femina in 2002,[2] and was later adapted into the 2012 film Farewell, My Queen. The film stars Diane Kruger as the titular queen and Léa Seydoux as her servant Sidonie Laborde. Thomas co-wrote the screenplay,[3][4] and it opened the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival.[5][6] Helen Falconer of The Guardian called the work "a well written slice of history" with "evocative, observant prose," but criticized it for creating a narrator who "merely provides us with a pair of eyes to see through rather than capturing our interest in her own right." While disagreeing in its classification as a novel, Falconer did however add that Farewell, My Queen "generates in the reader a real sense of being a fly on the wall, eavesdropping on the affairs of the great and the not so good."[7]

Thomas is currently the director of research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research.[1]


  • Sade, L'œil de la lettre (1978)
  • Casanova, Un voyage libertin (1985)
  • Don Juan ou Pavlov, Essai sur la communication publicitaire (1991)
  • La Reine scélérate, Marie-Antoinette dans les pamphlets (1989)
    translated into English as The Wicked Queen : The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette[8] (1999) by Julie Rose
  • Thomas Bernhard (1990)
  • Sade (1994)
  • La Vie réelle des petites filles (1995)
  • Comment supporter sa liberté (1998)
    translated into English as Coping with freedom : reflections on ephemeral happiness[9] (2001), by Andrea L. Secara
  • Les Adieux à la Reine (2002)
    translated into English as Farewell, My Queen[10] (2003), by Moishe Black
  • La Lectrice-Adjointe (2003)
  • Souffrir (2003)
  • L'île flottante (2004)
  • Apolline ou L'école de la Providence (2005)
  • Le Palais de la reine (2005)
  • Chemins de sable, Conversation avec Claude Plettner (2006)
  • Jardinière Arlequin, Conversations avec Alain Passard (2006)
  • Cafés de la mémoire (2008)
  • Le Testament d'Olympe (2010)
  • L'esprit de conversation (2011)
  • L'Échange des princesses (2013)
    translated into English as The Exchange of Princesses[11] (2014), by John Cullen
  • Un air de liberté. Variations sur l'esprit du XVIIIe siècle (2014)
  • Souvenirs de la marée basse (2017)


  1. "Chantal Thomas" (in French). Encyclopédie des auteurs. Archived from the original on 31 December 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  2. "Tous les lauréats du Prix Femina" (in French). Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  3. Angelico, John (22 April 2012). "SFIFF 2012: Opening night film 'Farewell, My Queen'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  4. Young, Deborah (9 February 2012). "Farewell, My Queen: Berlin Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  5. "Marie Antoinette drama to open Berlin Film Festival". BBC. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  6. "Benoît Jacquot's Les Adieux à la reine to Open the 62nd Berlinale". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  7. Falconer, Helen (9 January 2004). "The rats of Versailles". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  8. OCLC 35961483
  9. OCLC 49852623
  10. OCLC 51817401
  11. OCLC 893016783
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