Simenon married Régine Renchon on 24th March 1923 at La Violette, the traditional name of the city hall. Almost 30 years later, in May 1952, the famous novelist returned there with his second wife and was welcomed this time as a celebrity. To the left, at the foot of the staircase, the name of Arnold Maigret is engraved on a memorial on the façade of the city hall. Whilst a journalist, through the news items he covered, Simenon must have come across this Maigret from Liège reported missing in 1945 after deportation to a concentration camp. Did he remember this name when creating his famous detective? According to the writer, he “never even knew there was a Maigret in Liège ”.
At that time, I liked to roam around the city hall,
which, in Liège more than elsewhere, is the real centre of the country’s life.
I would stroll which ever way the wind blows, appreciating the noise, comings and
goings, colours, music… I liked the juniper aroma in the nearby cafés which were the haunt
of Walloon poets and artists from the local theatres.
[Georges Simenon, Quand j’étais vieux, 1970].