In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2015
Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of world-wide bestsellers such as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was not only a renowned man of letters but also a restless traveller. He left his Scottish homeland in search of a climate which would soothe his respiratory illness and ended his days amongst the inhabitants of Samoa, in Oceania. In the meantime he travelled widely in Europe: by canoe from Antwerp to Pontoise in France; on foot in the Cévennes with his donkey, Modestine.
The accounts of Stevenson’s travels in Europe are regarded as genuine ethnographic descriptions of peoples and lands. When he reached the Pacific islands, Stevenson wrote novellas and short stories which give a thoroughly fresh view of the societies of Oceania, which had previously been seen through the lens of colonialism.
As a writer, traveller, adventurer and idealist, Stevenson left his mark on the places he visited, through his literary work and his profound compassion for humanity. Today, we can retrace his steps from the Lothian region in Scotland to the Fontainebleau Forest in France or the Antwerp region in Belgium. The traveller can also participate in exhibitions, talks, lectures and activities, some specially targeting children and young people, so as to celebrate the important legacy of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Council of Europe values
Robert Louis Stevenson’s figure represents important values such as openness to others, secularism, support for minorities or the reconciliation of European peoples. For Stevenson travel was not a pretext or an escape, but an opportunity for encounters. The hallmark of this route is its human dimension marked by friendship, and the intention is to demonstrate the existence of a European literary heritage, and thereby encourage the concept of European citizenship.