Jacques Prévert, born February 4, 1900 in Neuilly-sur-Seine and died April 11, 1977 in Omonville-la-Petite (Manche), is a French poet.
Author of collections of poems, including Paroles (1946), he became a popular poet thanks to his colloquial language and his play on words. His poems are since then famous in the French-speaking world and massively learned in French schools.
He also wrote sketches and spoken choruses for the theater, songs, scripts and dialogues for the cinema where he is one of the artisans of poetic realism. He also made numerous sound collages from the 1940s onwards.
Jacques André Marie Prévert, the second child of André Louis Marie Prévert, a 29-year-old man of letters, and Marie Clémence Prévert, 22, (née Catusse), was born at 19 rue de Chartres in Neuilly-sur-Seine (now Hauts-de-Seine) on February 4, 1900. He spends his childhood there. Jacques had an older brother, Jean, born in 1898, who died of typhoid fever in 1915. He also has a younger brother, Pierre, born on May 26, 1906. His father, André Prévert (an anticlerical Bonapartist), did various jobs to earn a living, and was a drama and film critic for pleasure. He often took her to the theater and the cinema. Marie Clémence, his mother (of Auvergne origin and a former saleswoman at Les Halles de Paris), was his wife. In 1906, André Prévert lost his job and the family, penniless, moved to Toulon, until his father found a job at the Office central des œuvres charitables; the family moved back to Paris and settled in rue de Vaugirard. Jacques Prévert was bored at school (often playing hooky while traveling around Paris with the help of his father), and at the age of 15, after his primary school certificate, he abandoned his studies. He then multiplied his odd jobs, notably at the department store Le Bon Marché. He did some petty theft and frequented thugs but was never bothered by the police: “The virginity of my criminal record remains a mystery to me,” he wrote later. Mobilized on March 15, 1920, his military service was first carried out in Saint-Nicolas-de-Port (Meurthe-et-Moselle) where he met Yves Tanguy, then he managed to be posted in 1921 to Constantinople (now Istanbul), peacefully occupied by Allied troops since the end of the First World War. There he met the translator and future publisher Marcel Duhamel.
In 1922, he returned to Paris and lived there by doing odd jobs. With Yves Tanguy, he also frequented the Maison des amis des livres, rue de l”Odéon, run by Adrienne Monnier, who introduced them to literature and personalities like André Breton and Louis Aragon. From 1924 to 1928, he stayed with Marcel Duhamel, who lived at 54 rue du Château near Montparnasse (Duhamel ran the Hotel Grosvenor, which belonged to his uncle and was located not far from there).
The apartment in the rue du Château became the meeting place of the symbolist and surrealist movement. It was in fact a “collective” dwelling that welcomed all of Duhamel”s penniless friends: Raymond Queneau, Yves Tanguy. It was in this place that Prévert coined the term “cadavre exquis” to define the literary game he and his friends played. On April 30, 1925, he married Simone Geneviève Dienne (1903-1994), his childhood friend who had become a cellist in a cinema on the rue de Cluny to accompany silent films. In 1928, he left the rue du Château and settled with her at the foot of the Montmartre hill and began writing (in February, he composed Les animaux ont des ennuis, his first poem). He was also introduced to the actor Pierre Batcheff, who was looking for a screenwriter for his first film; it was love at first sight and the Batcheffs, moved by the modest living conditions of the Prévert couple, decided to take him in. In 1929, several of his poems appeared in magazines (in 1931, Tentative de description d”un dîner de têtes à Paris-France was noticed in the literary world). However, Prévert was too independent-minded to really be part of any group. He could not stand André Breton”s demands and the rupture was consummated in 1930.
Jacques Prévert does not yet feel like a writer. He moved to rue Dauphine and joined the Lacoudem group, also bound by a strong friendship.
In 1932, Jacques Prévert is asked (on the initiative of the communist Paul Vaillant-Couturier) by the group Octobre to write protest texts of agitation-propaganda. His verve, his humor, his ability to write very quickly on hot topics, will make the group famous. The most famous of these texts, The Battle of Fontenoy (presented in 1933 at the International Olympics of the workers” theater in Moscow, in front of Stalin), makes fun of the politicians of the time. From 1932 to 1936, the group was very active and performed in striking factories (Citroën), demonstrations, in the street, and in bars. Prévert was the main author, and Lou Bonin the director. The texts, directly linked to national and international current events, were written in the heat of the moment and the performances were given after barely one night of rehearsal. Alongside Jacques Prévert and his brother Pierre, we find Raymond Bussières, Marcel Mouloudji, Maurice Baquet, Margot Capelier, Agnès Capri or future filmmakers Paul Grimault, Yves Allégret and Jean-Paul Le Chanois. A team of friends and faithful with whom Prévert will continue to work thereafter. In the summer of 1932, the troupe was invited to Moscow, from where Jacques Prévert did not return as a communist militant. The group broke up on July 1, 1936, after the last performance of their show, Tableau des merveilles. Prévert then devoted himself fully to the cinema.
All his life, Jacques Prévert will show a sincere political commitment. Unclassifiable surrealist, some observers do not hesitate to link him to the libertarian movement: anarchist at heart, Prévert said he was a “dreamer” or “craftsman” rather than a “poet”. In 2012, Jean-Louis Trintignant will include him in his show Trois poètes libertaires, alongside Boris Vian and Robert Desnos.
This commitment will be at the origin of his greatest successes and many of his setbacks. The October group, with which he made his name, was a traveling theater company that went to play in striking factories. Jean Renoir, a fellow traveler of the French Communist Party, naturally worked with him, especially on Le Crime de monsieur Lange. Jean Grémillon”s Lumière d”été depicts idleness and work, and Les Visiteurs du soir ends, after the devil has transformed the lovers who resisted him into stone statues, with a dull beat and this line, which all French people understood: “Ce coeur qui bat, qui bat…”.
He was the scriptwriter and dialogue writer for several major French films of the years 1935-1945, including Drôle de drame, Le Quai des brumes, Le jour se lève, Les Visiteurs du soir, Les Enfants du paradis and Les Portes de la nuit by Marcel Carné, Le Crime de monsieur Lange by Jean Renoir, Remorques and Lumière d”été by Jean Grémillon. He adapted two Andersen tales, first The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep, which became The King and the Bird, an animated film by Paul Grimault in 1957, and then, in 1964, Grand Claus and Petit Claus, for television, Le Petit Claus et le Grand Claus by his brother Pierre Prévert.
During the Second World War, he protected his friend Joseph Kosma, who, thanks to him, could continue his work as a musician, and he also helped the decorator Alexandre Trauner to hide.
His poems were set to music by Joseph Kosma in 1935 (his performers include Agnès Capri, Juliette Gréco, the Frères Jacques and Yves Montand.
In 1938, Jacques Prévert and Jacques Canetti met aboard the Normandie liner. Destination New York. The first accompanied the actress Jacqueline Laurent, who was making her film debut and with whom he was in love. The second, artistic director of Radio Cité, goes to New York to see how radio is done on the other side of the Atlantic.
The two knew each other by name. Their friends were Marianne Oswald and Agnès Capri, who were already singing Prévert”s songs at Jean Cocteau”s “Bœuf sur le Toit”. They promised to meet again, but the war came.
During the Second World War, he took refuge in Nice.
They will meet again exactly ten years later. In 1949, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Frères Jacques had a triumph with Raymond Queneau”s Exercices de style. Jacques Canetti, music producer of Polydor records, suggested that they record them on a record dedicated to Prévert”s songs. Canetti then had Juliette Gréco, Yves Montand, Catherine Sauvage and Serge Reggiani record Prévert. Not to mention Jacques Prévert himself, whom he recorded with guitar accompaniment by Henri Crolla.
In 1975, they found their complicity thanks to the Spanish composer Sebastian Maroto, who composed with Jacques Prévert his last songs; thirteen songs with clear melodic lines. These songs are, at the request of Canetti and Prévert, sung by Zette, the wife of the composer, and they are released on vinyl by Productions Jacques Canetti.
In the aftermath of the war, the publisher René Bertelé obtained Prévert”s permission to compile a collection of his numerous texts and poems that had appeared in literary magazines since the 1930s. Released in May 1946, Paroles is the first book by Prévert. He created the graphic design himself, based on a photo of graffiti by his friend Brassaï. The success, both critical and public, is lightning. Prévert”s joyfully iconoclastic style and his favorite themes, simple pleasures, revolt and love, seduced both the Saint-Germain-des-Prés circle and the general public. In a few weeks, the 5,000 copies of the first edition were sold out. A new, enriched edition was soon published, and his poems were translated into English, Italian, Japanese, etc. Other collections followed (Spectacle, Histoires, Choses et Autres), in which aphorisms, drawings, collages and sketches were published alongside the poems. Alongside his own collections, Prévert co-wrote works with photographers, painters and illustrators for children (Jacqueline Duhême, Elsa Henriquez, Ylla…). Jacques Prévert then distances himself from the cinema in order to devote himself to writing.
In 1948, he entrusted Henri Crolla with the composition of music for his songs, including La Chanson des cireurs de souliers de Broadway for Montand. He separates from Kosma who sided with the producer in the film The King and the Bird that Paul Grimault considered unfinished. The film was released in a first version disowned by the authors Grimault and Prévert, under the title The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. It was the end of his collaboration with Kosma.
On October 12, 1948, in Paris, during an interview, he accidentally fell from a French window and remained in a coma for several days (he was later left with irreversible neurological damage). As luck would have it, Pierre Bergé, who had arrived in the capital for the very first time that same day, witnessed the accident while walking along the Champs-Élysées. After several months of forced rest in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, he began to practice collage assiduously, which for him was another form of poetry. In parallel to his collage production, he devoted himself to cartoons and children”s films and collaborated on numerous works with his friends, painters, artists and photographers, most often for limited editions: Grand Bal du printemps with the photographer Izis Bidermanas, Les Chiens ont soif with Max Ernst, texts for the painter Miró, for the photographer Robert Doisneau, etc. He also works with illustrators: he made in 1953 L”Opéra de la Lune with Jacqueline Duhême, a pioneer of children”s illustration, or Lettre des îles Baladar, with the artist André François.
Jacques Prévert lived for a long time in furnished apartments and hotels, before settling in 1956 in an apartment at 6 bis, cité Véron in the Grandes-Carrières district, at the end of a small cul-de-sac behind the Moulin-Rouge, on the same floor as Boris Vian, who performed at his brother Pierre Prévert”s cabaret – La Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons – where he liked to welcome famous spectators wearing a hunter”s cap bearing the name of the cabaret in gold letters.
In 1957, Jacques Prévert exhibited for the first time at the Maeght Gallery a series of collages, an unusual and unclassifiable artistic genre that he had been practicing with passion since 1948. The Grimaldi Museum in Antibes followed in 1963 and, a year later, the Knoedler Gallery in Paris, which presented 112 collages by Jacques Prévert from his personal collection and those of his friends Picasso, René Bertelé, Marcel Duhamel, André Villers, Betty Bouthoul and Renée Laporte. His collages are a direct extension of his pictorial writing, inspired by the surrealist tradition and of a great formal freedom, they play on the detour of aphorisms or popular expressions, the rereading or the re-appropriation of existing images. His collages will be integrated so much and so well into his poetic work that he will publish fifty-seven in his collection Fatras (1966) and twenty-five in Imaginaires (1970).
The Prévert family”s secondary residence was in Antibes, but following the termination of his lease by the landlord who wished to recover the apartment on the ramparts, he left this city. On the advice of the decorator Alexandre Trauner, he bought a house in 1971 in Omonville-la-Petite, at the north-western tip of Cotentin, in the Hague (Manche department). On April 11, 1977, he died of lung cancer, he who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and always had one in his mouth. He was 77 years old.
Alongside his wife, his daughter and his friend Alexandre Trauner, he is buried in the cemetery of Omonville-la-Petite, where one can also visit his house. Not far from there, in Saint-Germain-des-Vaux, his friends have created a garden dedicated to the poet.
Family and private life
On April 30, 1925, he married Simone, his childhood friend from whom he divorced in 1935. He had a love affair with the actress Jacqueline Laurent in 1936, then with a young actress of 15 years, Claudy Emanuelli (known as Claudy Carter), and finally in 1943 with Janine Fernande Tricotet (1913-1993), a student of the dancer Georges Pomiès, whom he married on March 4, 1947 and with whom he had a daughter, Michèle (1946).
His granddaughter, Eugénie Bachelot-Prévert, now manages her grandfather”s work.
A dog of breed briard of Jacques Prévert named Ergé is elected on May 11, 1953 satrape of the College of ”Pataphysics at the same time as his master.
Language and style
Prévert makes the conventional character of the speech burst by the play of the words. His poetry is constantly made of games on the language (puns, burlesque inventions, neologisms, voluntary lapses…) from which the poet draws unexpected comic effects (a sometimes black humor), double meanings or unusual images.
His poems are full of games of sounds, of combinations for the ear (alliterations, rhymes and varied rhythms) which seem easy, but of which Prévert makes a learned use. Finally, we must not neglect, as Danièle Gasiglia-Laster pointed out in her introduction to the Complete Works of Prévert in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, the contributions of surrealism, of which we find traces: inventories, heterogeneous enumerations of objects and individuals, additions of nouns or adjectives, etc. He is fond of the processes of the image, the metaphor and the personification (animal, object, human).
Prévert attacks the stereotypes of language, everything that is fixed, imposed: “Stereotyped expressions, famous quotes, proverbs, allow all possible mystifications. When certain beings oppress others, they try to make them believe that what is said or written reflects the natural order of things: “To all honour”, “He who loves well punishes well”, etc. So Prévert will divert from their meaning these “messages of lies”, subverting them to the benefit of those they serve: “A hundred times on the job put your work back to tomorrow, if you do not pay your salary today”, or will invent his own words: “You can”t do your work without a job”. Or he will invent aphorisms that will insinuate other relationships of power and especially another conception of society: “When garbage collectors go on strike, the scum are indignant”. When he uses clichés, not to put them in the mouths of characters without consistency, but for his own purposes, he gives them a rejuvenating treatment, most often by taking them at their first degree of meaning. Thus, the world of “Picasso”s Magic Lantern” is “beautiful as anything”, like the totality of the universe and its parts. Shaking up automatisms proves to be vital, because by being too content to use language as it is given to us, with the same immutable associations, we risk petrifying beings and things” explains Danièle Gasiglia-Laster (Introduction to volume 1 of the Complete Works of Prévert, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Gallimard).
“Jacques Prévert is very attached to language. He is a gourmet of words who experiences a real pleasure in playing with them. And this pleasure of the word, he communicates it to his readers. As soon as words appear, he catches them and has fun: he associates them, opposes them, twists them, makes them sound like each other, plays with their different meanings… He starts with simple words, “everyday words” as Garance calls them.
Prévert is, with notably Quai des brumes by Marcel Carné in 1938, Le Crime de monsieur Lange by Jean Renoir (1936) and Les Enfants du paradis by Marcel Carné (1945), one of the great French screenwriters.
The directors he worked with had great confidence in the story the film was telling. Many directors have made their best or most original films with him. Many of his lines (“-You have beautiful eyes, you know? -Kiss me.”) (“-Francis, there is no more Francois!”) (“Paris is very small for those who love each other as much as we do.”) (“You are rich and you would like to be loved like a poor person. And the poor we can not take everything from them, the poor! “) are sometimes better known than his poems. Prévert, who worked on films until the word END, is often called an author without directors as talented as Renoir, Carné or Grémillon taking offense.
He worked with Paul Grimault for nearly thirty years on The King and the Bird, and while Paul Grimault had finally found the means to finish his film, and Prévert was at death”s door, he worked on the dialogue until his last breath. The day before he died, he sent a telegram to Paul Grimault with these words, “And if there is only one left, we will be those two.” The King and the Bird ends with the release of a bird locked in its cage by the destructive robot, which is also released, and which, as soon as the bird flies away, crushes the cage with a punch.
In the cinema, his name is attached to the great works of the period of French cinema from 1935 to 1945. After the war, the commercial failure of the film Les Portes de la nuit will be the pretext for film productions to no longer work with this author too committed, and too independent to submit to their orders. He continued as a screenwriter, with great successes, such as Les Amants de Vérone by André Cayatte (1948), the films made with Paul Grimault, including Le Roi et l”Oiseau mentioned above, the films made for television with Pierre Prévert, Le Petit Claus et le Grand Claus (1964), La Maison du passeur (1965). But from the publication of Paroles, he devoted himself more to his texts published in collections.
In 2007, the Union Guilde des Scénaristes (now the Guilde française des scénaristes) created the Prix Jacques-Prévert du scénario. With the agreement of his granddaughter, Eugénie Bachelot-Prévert, the prize pays tribute to the man who is considered a great screenwriter. The award (often given on February 4, the poet”s birthday) is given to the best screenplay, among the French films released during the year, by a jury composed of screenwriters.
Prévert wrote a number of poems in homage to musical works that he appreciated. In 1974, at the request of Arnaud Laster, he participated in a program broadcast on France Musique, L”Antenne de France-Musique est à Jacques Prévert. In this interview with A. Laster, recorded in the house he lived in with his wife Janine in Omonville-la-Petite, he talks about his taste for musicians as diverse as Alban Berg, Georges Bizet, Igor Stravinsky, Antonio Vivaldi, Erik Satie, Haendel, Carl Orff… It was the Austrian painter Lucas Suppin who put Jacques Prévert in touch with Carl Orff. We also learn in these letters from Suppin that Orff, Suppin and Prévert had a common project around a book (probably around the theme of Oedipus), but it was never realized.
Prévert had a friendly relationship with Carl Orff, as evidenced by his regular dedications, including one dated 1959: “to Carl Orff, to his music – Jacques Rêve-vert”. A poem published in Choses et autres, Carmina Burana (the title of a stage cantata by Carl Orff: Carmina Burana) pays tribute to these profane songs. This poem will be included in the book Carmina Burana (Manus Press 1965) illustrated with scores by Carl Orff and drawings by HAP Grieshaber.
Prévert hears in Carl Orff”s music, writes Arnaud Laster, “a hymn to beauty and love” and “a demand for happiness that meets his own”. Both have worked on the story of Agnès Bernauer: Die Bernauerin for Carl Orff in 1947 and Agnès Bernauer for Prévert in 1961 in the film Les Amours célèbres by Michel Boisrond.
“The title of the collection Paroles”, Danièle Gasiglia-Laster and Arnaud Laster note, “sounds like a challenge, a refusal to submit to the tradition that privileges the written and printed word; this is confirmed by Prévert”s words reported by a journalist: “It is not true that the written word remains. It is the words”. These words echo, in a more provocative way, those he had already put into the mouth of a letter carrier – a man of letters in his own way, a colleague in short: “the written word flies away, the spoken word remains” [Drôle d”immeuble, La Pluie et le Beau Temps]. Does he agree with a critic of Paroles who wondered – without thinking particularly of the title – if it would not be “under the color of casualness of a particularly ambitious poetic approach? It is allowed to support it, even if Prévert aims less to substitute a hierarchy to another than to suggest, in favor of a reversal, the equal value of all modes of expression.”
Carole Aurouet makes the following comment:
“In addition to the themes addressed, Paroles is also innovative, atypical and explosive in its form and style. It is a collection placed under the sign of eclecticism in which one finds as well short texts as songs, stories, snapshots and inventories. Prévert mixes genres. He does not fit into any poetic taxonomy. In addition, he bends the rules of classical versification, both in terms of rhythm and layout or punctuation. Prévert has kept from his passage through surrealism a singular way of destroying language clichés and commonplaces. He draws, for example, the attention of his readers on the arbitrariness of the sign. He uses with brilliance the spoonerisms, the puns, the equivocations and the allegories. He pays homage in a way to the popular language.
Prévert having become Transcendant Satrape of the College of ”Pataphysics in 1953, and “the College not taking into account such unimportant transformations as death, he remains there memorial president of the Subcommission of Paraphrases.”
Danièle Gasiglia-Laster specifies, in her analysis of Paroles published in the Foliothèque collection of Gallimard :
“That the poet knows how to handle extreme conciseness is not in doubt, but he also excels in the great abundant texts where he then puts in scene multiple characters who evolve in varied environments.”
The writer Roger Bordier will write a political eulogy of Jacques Prévert in the magazine Europe:
“On the side of the exploited, the poor, the destitute, Prévert cried out the scandalous organization of misery, the shame of institutionalized crime, the tartufferies of a press under orders, the sadistic organization of an industrial power that confuses its personal profits with the goods of the nation.”
The writer Pierre Jourde, ironizing on Frédéric Beigbeder”s admiration for Prévert in his Dernier inventaire avant liquidation, comments:
“After recognizing that Prévert is sometimes a bit simple, full of basic truths, nice clichés and facilities, the essayist nevertheless rises against those who denigrate him. He reveals that, if the critics do not like Prévert, it is not because his poetry is weak, no, it is because it is popular.
Michel Houellebecq shows himself to be particularly hermetic to Jacques Prévert”s poetry, but the conclusion of the article where he attacks the author of Paroles – which is still controversial – clearly shows that it is the “libertarian” who is targeted:
“Jacques Prévert is someone from whom we learn poems in school. It comes out that he loved flowers, birds, the neighborhoods of old Paris, etc. Love seemed to him to thrive in an atmosphere of freedom; more generally, he was rather for freedom, wore a cap and smoked Gauloises . At the time we listened to Vian, Brassens… Lovers snogging on public benches, baby boom, massive construction of HLM to house all those people. A lot of optimism, faith in the future, and a bit of bullshit. The “work of the text” in Prévert remains embryonic: he writes with limpidity and a real naturalness, sometimes even with emotion; he is not interested in either writing or the impossibility of writing; his great source of inspiration would be life. Thus, he has, for the most part, escaped graduate school theses. Today, however, he enters the Pléiade, which constitutes a second death. His work is there, complete and frozen. This is an excellent opportunity to sʼinterrogate why the poetry of Jacques Prévert is so mediocre, so much so that one sometimes feels a kind of shame in reading it? The classic explanation (through his wordplay, his light and limpid rhythm, Prévert actually expresses his worldview perfectly. The form is consistent with the content, which is indeed the most one can ask of a form. Moreover, when a poet immerses himself to this extent in life, in the real life of his time, it would be an insult to him to judge him according to purely stylistic criteria. If Prévert writes, itʼs because he has something to say; thatʼs to his credit. Unfortunately, what he has to say is boundlessly stupid; it makes one nauseous at times. There are pretty naked girls, bourgeois who bleed like pigs when their throats are cut. The children are sympathetic immorality, the thugs are seductive and virile, the pretty naked girls give their bodies to the thugs; the bourgeois are old, obese, impotent, decorated with the Legion of Honor, and their wives are frigid; the priests are disgusting old caterpillars who have invented sin to prevent us from living. We know all this; we may prefer Baudelaire. Lʼintelligence does nothing to help one write good poems; it can, however, avoid writing bad ones. If Jacques Prévert is a bad poet itʼs above all because his vision of the world is flat, superficial and false. It was already false in his time; today its nullity is vividly apparent, to the point that the entire work seems the development of a gigantic cliché. Philosophically and politically, Jacques Prévert is above all a libertarian; that is, fundamentally, a fool.”
Philippe Forest attacks, him, to those who attack Hugo, Aragon or Prévert – of which he estimates that Tentative of description of a dinner of heads to Paris-France is a “marvelous” text – and thinks that it is necessary to finish with “a stereotyped reading of the literary history. Few lucid readers have opened the way. There was indeed Bataille, one of the few to take Paroles seriously – one of the greatest books, however, of the last century. But do you know many thurifers of Histoire de l”œil who remember the text that Bataille devoted to Prévert? That would complicate a lot the routine reflection of the critic. And if the bad feelings, at the bottom, never produced that of the bad literature? What if the novel, true poetry, were in fact on the side of that old-fashioned thing called goodness? It took someone like Roland Barthes his whole life to have the courage to express this thought. It is true that it is scandalous enough that we need the whole century to come to meditate on its enigma.
In 2017, director Laurent Pelly proposed a creation at the National Theater of Toulouse where he chose to explore the work of Jacques Prévert, “not the one you hear on school benches, but that of the libertarian, subversive, anti-militarist and anti-clerical man.”
Books for children
If several books for young people were published after Jacques Prévert”s death under his signature, it is not for nothing. These post-mortem volumes were made up of texts taken from his collections. During his lifetime, he had conceived and published only six books for children.
Two children”s films co-authored by Prévert have been published:
Places named in his honor
Depending on the source, Jacques Prévert is the second or third most celebrated man on the pediment of 67,000 French schools. A 2015 census by the newspaper Le Monde indicated no less than 472 schools, colleges and high schools named after him, behind Jules Ferry (642), but ahead of Jean Moulin (434), Jean Jaurès (429), Jeanne d”Arc (423), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (418), Victor Hugo (365), Louis Pasteur (361), Marie Curie (360), Pierre Curie (357), Jean de la Fontaine (335).
A census conducted by the newspaper Le Parisien in 2017 gave it third place, with 440 schools, behind Saint Joseph (915) and Jules Ferry (603) but ahead of Jean Jaurès (393), Sainte Marie (390), Jean Moulin (389), Saint-Exupéry (389) and Jeanne d”Arc (384).
Many municipalities have named a public road after him, including Paris with the rue Jacques-Prévert, a new road created in the 20th arrondissement and named in 1987.
Several municipal libraries bear his name, including the one in Cherbourg where a statue of the poet stands in front of the building.