The trip to Iran

Éliane, the Father Stève and the 2 CV car, 1958.


Their trip to Iran, ARMAN liked so much to evoke it and tell us about it!

We are in November 1958, one year after Eliane decided to put aside her own professional path in the music world.

All along the year, Arman regularly makes round trips to Paris to multiply contacts, find exhibition places since there wasn't many opportunities in Nice.
He makes “CACHETS” and begins the “ALLURES D'OBJET”.

The first signs of a plan to come and live in Paris are raising, while one of their friend, a Dominican priest: the Father STEVE, an epigraphist (someone who studies inscriptions) has to travel back at the end of the year for a mission in Suze, South of Iran.
The idea of accompanying him there and make the trip together is adopted one evening.
As the project of an adventure a bit crazy: the car, a French 2 CV, should enable them to get there in 8 days and be back in as many days.
They rely for the logistics, on the experience of another friend Robert GODET who had just made a trip to Tibet with a 2 CV car.

They are sure they'll be back home for Christmas.

The car is packed with a tent to camp for when they don’t do halts in the lazarist monasteries, with two spare wheels, diving equipment to fish, in addition to a roller of large "cachets" which occupies all the length from the front seat to the back of the 2 CV.
Trying to set up an exhibition is also part of the travel plans.
A rifle complements this luggage in case of difficulties when crossing some instable areas.

At the beginning, things go rather well, until the first car breaks down when a gimbal "dies out".
With the 8 days waiting there for the replacement part to be sent from France.

Arman replaces the part and… he never turns around…


The crossing of Anatolia highlands between snow-drifts and snow falls will be a foretaste of the passage of the ford that they will need to jump over after having emptied the 2 CV from its content passed over on trunks. So that Arman could take a run with the light weighted 2 CV and land on the other side of the ford: as a result, no more springs on the right side of the car…

Never mind; they arrive in Teheran with the car all loaded on the left…
For 8 more days of immobilization…

They had already left for one month.

This burning cold will finally last three months.

They will not manage to be brought back by boat, but will leave as a thank to the French host who housed them, a large "cachet".
They will learn later how he was so happy he made “splendid lamp-shades with it”!!!

The rest of the cachets will be offered on the way back to the lazarist fathers who accommodated them…

Their way back will match the outward journey…
Flat tires twice a day; they remain blocked in snow mountains before choosing to go along the Black Sea.
Éliane travels with the rifle on her knees.

They will go across Italy non-stop and without sleeping to be able to sing their victory when reaching the panel FRANCE, coming out of the Tende pass.

They arrive with their wrecked 2 CV. Arman, who became specialist in mechanics, knows it by heart and decides to take it all apart and replace everything.
During this journey, he exerted his eye of collector and selected a series of Louristan bronzes that he intends to sell to reimburse their debts.  

Picture of Arman

Arman, 1958.