Pierre André de Suffren

Pierre André de Suffren was born in 1729 at the Château de St Cannat near Aix-en-Provence, and was a French vice-admiral, bailiff and commander of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

He died in Paris in 1788.

The Bailli de Suffren and the Saint-Christol Commandery

Bailli de Suffren, a gentleman from Provence, vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and knight of the Order of Malta, became Commander of Saint-Christol in 1771. The Grand Master of the Order granted him this title for services rendered. He retained the title until his death in 1788.

Founded in the mid-12th century, the Commanderie des Hospitaliers de Saint-Christol was one of the first and most important commanderies of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, whose headquarters were located in Saint-Gilles du Gard. Its exceptional terroir enabled successive commanders to develop high-quality viticulture.

Thanks to his correspondence with his lifelong friend Mme d'Alès, we can get an idea of Bailly de Suffren's personality. On a break between battles, he arrived in Saint-Christol in 1775 to visit and administer his fiefdom. During his stay, he became aware of the quality of the vineyards, which he endeavored to promote to the grandees of the kingdom. At the end of his life, he became ambassador of the Order of Malta to the King of France, and at the same time ambassador for Saint-Christol wine, which obtained the right to mark barrels (the forerunner of the PDO) for export in 1788.

Endowed with a strong character, loved and respected by his men, this lover of good food and good wine was a formidable strategist on the seas, and took part in all the great naval battles of the 18th century, from the Indies to America.

In 1765, he took command of the Singe, an elegant, swiftly maneuvering chebek fitted out in Toulon, which enabled him to demonstrate all his talents in the race against the barbarians in the Mediterranean. His fetish ship, his first command, and on which he earned his first stripes as a future vice-admiral at the age of 36... Nicknamed "Admiral Satan" by the English, he gave his name to 7 major warships, including a nuclear attack submarine in 2017.