Here are some images from the Voyages extraordinaires, and from real life, which show striking similarities.
Nadar and Ardan
Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, better known as Nadar, was a truely famous Parisian. It is said that a letter addressed ‘Nadar, Paris’ would arrive at the correct address at the Boulevard des capucines. Nadar was before all a photographer. He has photographed numerous prominent people of the XIXth century, such as Baudelaire, George Sand, Gioachino Rossini, Alexandre Becquerel, Edouard Manet and Sarah Bernhardt.
But Nadar was not a man who would do only one thing in his life. He studied medecine in Lyon, worked in a psychiatric hospital in Paris, wrote articles and stories for newspapers and magazines. He was actor, reporter, illustrator, soldier.
On 30 July 1863, Nadar founded the Société d’Encouragement pour la Locomotion Aérienne au moyen d’appareils plus lourds que l’air, together with La Landelle and Ponton d’Amécourt. The members were scientists, writers and other intellectuals. Jules Verne was among them, as censor of the Society. To raise funds, Nadar offered places in his balloon Le Géant, on which Jules Verne has written an article: A propos du Géant.
In De la Terre à la Lune, Americans form the project of shooting a projectile to the moon, but it is a Frenchman who suggests to travel inside it. This Frenchman is Michel Ardan.
Michel Ardan is evidently the Frenchman aboard the projectile. He is the one that makes the problems of the trip look small, by a witty remark, or by calling his companions to dinner. He is brave, but in his own way. Ardan is the man not of the great ideas, but of the greatest ideas.
The house of Jules Verne, the ‘House with the Tower’, is situated at 2, rue Charles Dubois, Amiens. Nowadays, in this house is located the Centre International Jules Verne, founded in Amiens in 1971 by Daniel Compère.
The house of Dean Forsyth, a character in La Chasse au météore, looks remarkably like that of Jules Verne himself.