The 50 franc note used in France between 1993 and 2002 bears a portrait of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and illustrations from his children's book The Little Prince.

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupery (June 29, 1900 - July 31, 1944) was a French aviator and award-winning author from an aristocratic family. His works include novels, short stories and articles for newspapers and magazines. He is best known today as the author of the 1943 children's novella The Little Prince.


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in the French city of Lyon on June 25, 1900. He was the third of five children and the oldest son of Viscountess Marie de Fonscolombe and Viscount Jean de Saint-Exupéry. Jean de Saint-Exupéry died when his son Antoine was only three years old. Antoine's younger brother François died at the age of fifteen.

In 1921, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry joined the army. While he was a soldier, Saint-Exupéry also began taking private flying lessons.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Canada in 1942.

In 1926, Saint-Exupéry began working as a professional pilot. Before the Second World War, he worked as a commercial pilot on air mail routes in Europe, Africa and South America. He joined the French Air Force at the beginning of the war. After France surrendered to Nazi Germany in 1940, Saint-Exupéry traveled to the United States, hoping to persuade its government to enter the war on the side of the Allies. He spent more than two years in North America, during which time he wrote most of his major works.

In 1943, Saint-Exupéry traveled to Algeria and joined the Free French Air Force, although he was officially eight years too old to join at the time. On July 31, 1944 he disappeared over the Mediterranean Sea during a reconnaissance mission. He is believed to have died at that time. His identity bracelet was discovered on September 7, 1998 in the Mediterranean Sea near the uninhabited Island of Riou some 13 miles (21 kilometers) south-east of the city of Marseilles, France.. On May 23, 2000, debris from a P-38 Lightning aircraft was found at the bottom of the sea near the Island of Riou. On April 7, 2004, the debris was officially confirmed as being from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's plane.

Saint-Exupéry is now best known internationally for the children's book that he wrote and illustrated Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), which has been translated into two hundred and fifty languages and dialects.

Although not strictly autobiographical, most of Saint-Exupéry's writings drew on his experiences as a pilot. His writings earned him several French literary awards. He received the U.S. National Book Award for his 1939 memoir Terre des hommes (Wind Sand and Stars).


Front cover of a 1939 edition of Terre des hommes (Wind, Sand and Stars.

  • "The Aviator" (L'Aviateur, short story, 1926)
  • Southern Mail (Courier sud, 1929)
  • Night Flight (Vol de nuit, 1931)[1]
  • Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes, 1939)[2]
  • Flight to Arras (Pilote de guerre, 1942)[3]
  • The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince, 1943)
  • The Wisdom of the Sands (Citadelle, published posthumously in 1948)
  • Lettres à une jeune fille (published posthumously in 1950, not yet translated into English)[4]
  • Lettres à l'amie inventée (published posthumously in 1953, not yet translated into English)[5]
  • Lettres de jeunesse 1921-1931 (published posthumously in 1953, not yet translated into English)[6]
  • Carnets (published posthumously in 1953, not yet translated into English)[7]
  • Lettres à sa mère (published posthumously in 1953, not yet translated into English)[8]
  • A Sense of Life (Un sens à la vie, short story anthology, published posthumously in 1956)
  • Lettres de Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (published posthumously in 1960, not yet translated into English)[9]
  • Lettres aux américaines (published posthumously in 1960, not yet translated into English)[10]
  • Wartime Writings (Écrits de guerre 1939-1944, published posthumously in 1982)
  • Manon danseuse (published posthumously in 2007, not yet translated into English)[11]
  • Lettres à l'inconnue (published posthumously in 2008, not yet translated into English)[12]

During the 1930s, while he was working as a commercial pilot, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry also worked as a reporter for the French newspaper Paris-Soir and the French news magazine Marianne. He reported on French Indochina and the Far East in 1934, on the Soviet Union in 1935 and on the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and 1937. Articles by Saint-Exupéry continued to appear in French-language newspapers and magazines throughout his life. During his time in North America, writings by Saint-Exupéry also appeared in American publications such as Harper's Bazaar and The New York Times Magazine.


  1. Winner of the 1931 Prix Femina.
  2. Winner of the 1939 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française and the 1939 National Book Award of the United States.
  3. Winner of the 1942 Grand Prix Littéraire de l'Aéro Club de France.
  4. The French title means "Letters to a a young girl"
  5. The French title means Letters to an imaginary female friend"
  6. The French title means "Letters written while young 1921 to 1931".
  7. The French title means "Notebooks".
  8. The French title means "Letters to his mother".
  9. The French title means "Saint-Exupéry's letters".
  10. The French title means "Letters to the Americans".
  11. The French title means "Manon the dancing woman".
  12. The French title means "Letters to the unknown woman".

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