Let us imagine
Paris after the second world war, following
a long period of restriction due to the Occupation, the wine, one of the
greatest national products, was very slowly reappearing on the tables and in
the wine houses. But what wine! More and more frauds
and other scandals concerning the wine were exposed in the
there were some privileged and rare places where good wine could still be found.
There was one, in the “Quartier Latin”, hidden at the bottom of a very small
la rue DUPUYTREN,
near the Faculty of Medicine of Paris.
It was a
small wine house - a few square meters- with
a several floor cellar built in the stone, concealing
a treasure of old bottles and everybody marvelled at how these
bottles had survived the storm of occupation without damage . Everywhere, the
provisioning remained difficult, but there, the oak barrels of two vineyards,
Vouvray and Morgon, arrived regularly.
It was a confidential
address. Only initiates were allowed there because the iron curtain of the
shop-window was often lowered. If an intruder dared to venture there, ha was
asked " to go on the Boulevard, because it
is special here ". One could taste pork-butcheries made by
the owner, sprinkled with Vouvray or Morgon wine, and sometimes, with an old
dusty bottle. That depended on the mood of the owner, "father" RYE, a robust 60
year-old man with a proud moustache.
the regular customers - doctors, professors of the Medical Faculty, some
industrialists, lawyers, journalists, tradesmen and caretakers of the district-
a peculiar person could be noticed: a person who had a sizeable character, a
high stature, a stentorian voice, an imposing white beard, a black cape and a
painter hat. He behaved like a patriarch and seemed to have a great prestige.
name was Comte Jean-Paul Mariage EUDES DE SAINT PIERRE, a former pupil of
the School of Chartes, a great genealogist, an epicurean of the medieval history
and large amateur of good wine and good food.
This scholar of the wine never stopped vituperating against the adulterated and
mechanized wines, and praising the merits of the " vin vray " (real wine) such
as the one served to him in that exceptional almost out of time place.
our man discovered in the National Library, in the Acta Sanctorum of
Bollandistes, a forgotten martyrdom: Saint Bacchus. What a discovery! He
was exactly the Saint to launch a crusade in favour of the "vin vray" and the
vine growers against the mechanized wines and the chemists who manufactured
learned assembly of the street DUPUYTREN was informed of the discovery, approved
of the project, and while taking as a starting point the Orders of knighthood
of the Middle Ages, wrote the Holy Rule of a new order baptized: "
Ordre Hospitalier Curieux et Courtois des Chevaliers de
Saint Bacchus " (Hospitable, Curious and Courteous Order of the
Knights of Saint Bacchus). Somebody drew the arms of the Order, somebody else
established its slogan and its rallying cry:
" Par Saint Bacchus, Aymons nous ! "
The Duke of
BEAUFFREMONT COURTENAY was the first president of the Order.
He distributed the honorary titles to accustomed members and to the friends. A
friend of the Comte of Saint Pierre, the Abbot Nestor DELETOILE, priest of
Fruges in the Pas-de-Calais was promoted to the rank of Chapelain (priest) of
the Order. He left an imperishable memory in its parish and went to the street
DUPUYTREN each time he was in Paris.
After several years of
discussion, everything was ready. The Order was
inaugurated on October 7th , 1949. The Abbot Nestor
DELETOILE celebrated a mass in the Church of Saint German l'Auxerrois in PARIS
and the first Chevaliers (knights) were enrolled.
For several years the
Order organized a chapter, each year at the saint's
day of Saint Bacchus, the same day as Saint Serge, October 7th
. Without any means except his persuasion, the Comte of Saint Pierre recruited a
hundred Ecuyers (equerries) on which he
imposed a long probationary period to become a
Chevalier (Knight). In 1953, our previous
Grand Maître, Jean BRUNAUD , was
recruited as Ecuyer (equerry). He became
Chevalier (Knight) in 1960. It was only
in 1957, that, on his advice, the Comte of Saint Pierre gave
a legal existence to the Order, by
declaring it at the office of associations of the Prefecture of Police in Paris.
The Order appeared in the Official Journal of May 25th
The majority of the
founders - deceased or sick- had been replaced. The continuity had been ensured
by the tireless Comte de Saint Pierre.
A few year before, he
had taken his stick of pilgrim and had travelled across the countries of
vineyards. He had created the Commanderie
of Champagne, Bourgogne, Provence and Bordeaux. But because they lacked a solid
structure, they had only one transitory existence. In the same way, he went to
Belgium, a country where the Order was to make great progress thereafter,
and he created the Commanderie of LIEGE.
Slowly, new knights came
to the Order but its size did not grow because of the death of the oldest
members. Nevertheless the Grand Maître held a weekly
meeting each Tuesday in Paris with a certain success. Unthinkable
now! He multiplied the chapters and the friendly meetings around the wine and of
the gastronomy until September 1st 1966
when he disappeared brutally, at the age of 95 years,
after a good dinner with the Grand Echanson
of the Order.
The Order could have
disappeared. The board of directors named in 1957 had not been renewed and was
decimated by the disease or the death of the majority of its members.
Fortunately, a few months later the Commander of Ambonnay, Messire Gaston
BREMONT who had been named honorary for this reason , undertook to continue
the task and to assume the succession.
Everything was rebuilt
because the founder had little been concerned with the administration of the
The Order was
then reorganized with the administrative formalities, and regular general
assemblies to ensure its management. The ceremonial of the chapter, a
collective work, was devised and has remained immutable since. The behaviour of
the dignitaries was defined. The order was structured at the same time as it
took an enormous extension in Belgium and
as various attempts at establishing it were made in Germany, in Japan, in
Hungary and Sicily, unforunately not to last. On the other hand the
Connétablies founded in Belgium, England and in Canada
are always present and quite active.
25th 1989, the Grand Maître Gaston BREMONT, 82 years old,
transmitted his competence to Messire Jean BRUNAUD.
Grand Maître has tried to maintain the
activity of the Order, to preserve the traditions and all the rites while
modernizing them, by instituting a more rigorous management, by decentralizing
it on the Commanderies which have a
significant role and while giving to the ladies who wish it, the responsibility
they had been denied until then. The great concern of the
Grand Maître and his council was to ensure
the perenniality of the Order. That is what we seek to establish
everywhere as awell as to make us known and to find devoted people to help us.
These last few years, two questions were put ex abrupto to the Grand Maître Jean
Brunaud during very serious conversations.
The first emanated from
a General to whom he had presented our Order and who asked him:
what is the use of your Ordre ? "
Grand Maître answered him:
it does not have any use, except giving us a certain pleasure, to be among
genuine people, to spend one pleasant moment without concern in front of a good
table and good wines, to disguise ourselves sometimes and to create a small
illusion. Nothing but to help us forget the sadness and the selfishness of our
Why do we always have to
find a use to everything? Dream and imagination are also part of our life.
More than fifty years
ago, on the basis of an original idea germinated in the brain of a jovial
fellow, our order succeeded in gathering people from all horizons and all
conditions, in the same knightly spirit under the pretext of the defense of the
" vin vray ", but in fact maybe more for the sake of the festival and the
It would be a pity not
to continue this adventure.
The second question came
from an ecclesiastic at the end of a mass in which dignitaries of the Order had
taken part. Seeing their title of " Chevaliers of
Saint Bacchus ", he said to our Grand
Hey, he is a funny Saint your guy!
Continuing his reforms in order to assure the perenniality of the Order, the
Grand Maître Jean Brunaud summoned a general assembly for November 30, 2002
during which he presents his resignation, after 14 years of work devoted to
reinforce the structure of the Order and to contribute to its vitality.
this assembly two decisions of organization are made:
creation of the Conseil International de l'Ordre ( International Council of the
Order ) chaired by the Grand Maitre and who assists him in the direction of
creation the Grande Connétable de France, as well as in England, Belgium and
Connétable de l’Ordre,
elected by this same assembly, became the fourth
Messire Jean-Edouard Péru
became the first
Grand Connétable of France.
Curieux et Courtois des Chevaliers de Saint Bacchus,
who is French thus gives himself mode of organization in harmony with his
actions which the new Grand Maître wishes to take:
contribute, through this new organization, to the reinforcement of the friendly
bonds between the members of different Grandes Connétablies and to the division
from a strong common identity by demonstrations which gather them
capitalize the oral history of the Order to keep of it hard copy with the
service of the generations to come.
Michel Graviassy, in the capacity as Grand
Chambellan then as Grand Connétable of the Order worked with the
Grand Maître Emérite
Jean Brunaud and knew during a few years his predecessor the
Grand Maître Emérite
Gaston Brémond. But it is indeed the first in
this function which did not know the founder and for this reason it feels the
pressing need to write the past with those which are among us to testify it.
Updated 10 March 2005
by the Grand Maître