Poet, writer and politician
Alphonse de Lamartine, born in Mâcon in 1790, was educated at the Jesuit college in Belley.
During the Hundred Days, he experienced a tragic love affair in Aix-les-Bains, the memory of which he describes in the poem Le Lac (Les Méditations poétiques, 1820).
He then became the famous Romantic poet we know but also French ambassador, traveler, deputy and played a leading role in the founding of the Second Republic and the first presidential vote in French history. He died ruined and forgotten in 1869.
A statue of Lamartine as a teenager decorates the entrance to his former college, now the Institution Lamartine.
His poem “Farewell to the College of Belley” is also engraved in the marble of the grand staircase of the establishment (“Righteous Asylum that formed my childhood”).
For Lamartine, Belley and its college are his “Classical Homeland.”