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The Reporters Associés agency by Louis Le Roux #2


#2 – But who is Lova de Vaysse?

Lova de Vaysse was a press surname. Lova de Vaysse’s real name was Vladimir-Lev Rychkoff-Taroussky born December 21, 1921 he died January 7, 1983. He claimed to be a descendant of white Russians who emigrated to Paris after the war of 1914 and is also said to be the grandson of a Russian prince, even of Genghis Khan…

Lova de Vaysse had a little physical resemblance to Paul Meurisse, a well-known actor at the time, they both had bags under their eyes in common, hence the resemblance.

Lova de Vaysse was always well dressed: tie suit or slightly sporty tweed jacket, often quite light, patent shoes. One day, I asked him if it is not a little too conspicuous … I did not add, for his age! He simply answered: “when you get older you will see … Dress with light colors, it makes you look younger”. He was only 35 years old! Handsome speaker, he knew how to please ladies and gentlemen, but ladies were entitled to the kiss.

His mother Baboussia lives on avenue Bosquet near Les Invalides and often went through avenue Frochot to see her son and granddaughter Katherine, 8, and especially the couple Davis Boyer. Baboussia sometimes babysat Katherine when the parents went out at night. Jacqueline de Vaysse was a beautiful woman, elegant, smiling and very self-effacing. Well dressed, beautifully styled, she was a true Parisian from Auvergne !

They had friends, including Jean-François Chauvel, Patrick’s father but especially Jean and Madeleine Pinard. Jean is a school friend of Lova de Vaysse and they went to university together. He was colonel of Gendarmerie and at the end of his career became general. He commanded the Elysée Republican Guard under the chairmanship of General de Gaulle. I have pictures of him on the front steps of L’Elysée. When he had free time he liked to accompany Lova in reporting.

Me too ! One day, we found ourselves on a reportage on the Ile de Ré. An unusual story for the time: a couple with two children whose husband had changed sex. We were treated to an oyster tasting before taking the boat to go to the island …

Work above all was the boss’s motto. Lova de Vaysse took me under his thumb, like a son. He advised me, guided me in the profession. Soon he trusted me completely, let me choose the photos of the reports and organized the work.

Legend has it that as soon as he got out of bed, he went in his dressing gown directly to the “Balto”, the tobacco café at the bottom of avenue Frochot. In fact, He liked his morning coffee followed by a Fernet-Branca, an undrinkable aperitif. But for him it was his twist, his “medicine,” he sayd. After the “Balto”, ten meters below, he went to the newstand to take the daily newspapers and magazines for the press review. I participated in reading the press almost every day. Renaud Martinie was there as well as the photographers. We discussed important events and those to cover.

Lova de Vaysse smoked a lot, Jacqueline his wife too. They had lunch from time to time at home, but often outside, there was a nice little restaurant down the street from Henry Monnier where they had their habits. On the menu, good fish and also lobster, split alive and cooked in front of the customer. It’s good to have lobster, but to split it in half like that while it’s fidgeting, I’m still sick at heart. But I ate it when he invited me, especially for business meals.

This is where we discussed the markets and prices of raw materials – which we consumed in very large quantities – with representatives of the companies Ilford, Kodak, Fuji, and even Guilleminot … Lova de Vaysse always signed his contracts in French way , that is  after a good meal in a good restaurant.

He also liked going out in the evening, he had his habits in a club: “Chez Touré” where he had his bottle of whiskey available. In these clubs we danced! We drinked ! We also discussed business! Lova de Vaysse believed in making me and my wife happy, but that was not the case. We always tried to avoid these evenings.

One day, for a birthday, he invited part of the agency in a Russian club whose name I no longer remember, after a Russian meal and a party to break everything with music, gypsy playing violins and vodka to drink the Russian way by throwing one’s glass behind to break it. It seems that it brings good luck. For me it was a disaster, I never knew who brought me home …

Another time it was an evening in Montmartre “Au Lapin Agile”, an illustrious cabaret, to thank the teams after a big successful press release. In this way he was not stingy.

This article first appeared on the A L’OEIL – Journalism & Photography website :

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