Her final years

In October 1946, the wars ended. It also marked the end of 25 years of exploration and research in Asia. Both adventurers had no other choice but to return to the occident.. They worked relentlessly and published about 10 books. Alexandra, then 82 years old, camped for part of the winter near the « lac d’Allos », at 2240m above sea level in order to recuperate from a tour of conferances around Europe.

Alexandra dans sa pièce tibétaineAphur Yongden, her beloved son, himself the little bit of Asia that she had bought back with her, died tragically in 1955. Alexandra, then 86 years old, was devastated and everything around her collapsed.

YongdenFor 4 years, she wandered from one hotel to another, and that’s how she met Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet in 1959, in a very fortuitous way. The first meeting was out of courtesy, and was only meant to last for one hour, in fact it lasted for 10 years.

Alexandra et M.M. PeyronnetIn the year 1969, Alexandra celebrated her 100th birthday, surrounded by personnalities. She submited to protocole in spite of the fact that she prefered to be at home alone.

Alexandra à 100 ans dans son bureauShe renewed her passport at the age of 100 years and 6 month old with the intention of returning to Asia. She also had another project to travel around the world in a « Renault 4 cv » with her secretary, Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet, as the chauffeur…

Alexandra à 100 ans dans son bureau. Samten DzongIn spite of her age, Alexandra continued writing books : « A part of every day must be dedicated to an intellectual work ». She suffered with very bad reumatism and was almost paralized but this still did not stop her from working 18 hours a day.

M.M. Peyronnet sur le gange portant les cendres d'Alexandra.Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet closed Alexandra’s eyes in september 1969. The greatest woman explorer passed away peacefully a few days before her 101st birthday.

MM. Peyronnet immergeant les cendres d'Alexandra en 1973 à BénarèsShe made her last journey with Yongden and Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet, on the 28th of february 1973 to Bénarès where her secretary dispersed their ashes into the Ganges… The sacred river claimed the remains of Alexandra David-Néel, closing the final chapter in the life of a truly remarkable woman. A woman with an incredible sense of adventure… A woman who put real meaning into the term « To Explore »…