350 million copies! This is the record number of Asterix albums sold throughout the world since the publication in 1961 of the first edition of Asterix the Gaul, which boasted a print run of just a few thousand copies!

350 million copies, each 7mm thick, is equivalent to 766 times the height of the Eiffel Tower, when stacked one on top of another, or nearly twice the circumference of the planet when laid end-to-end! Surpassing the 350 million album mark this year however represents, above all, an amazing artistic adventure born of the lifelong friendship of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.

This achievement was duly celebrated on Monday, 26 September 2011 in the offices of the global publishing group Hachette Livre, located in the 15th district of Lutetia. The celebration hosted by Arnaud Nourry, Chairman and CEO of Hachette Livre, and Isabelle Magnac, Director of the publishing house Les Editions Albert René, was the opportunity for Albert Uderzo and Anne Goscinny, daughter of the great René, to recall, with a lot of emotion, memories of a rare and extraordinary human adventure.

With tears in their eyes, they evoked the most difficult periods, in particular the sudden death of René Goscinny on 5 November 1977, as well as moments of intense happiness, such as when Anne witnessed the laughter of her young son engrossed in an Asterix album.
There can be no doubt that the 350 million albums sold are as much a milestone of a rich past as the promise of a long and happy future for France's favourite hero.

Amongst those surrounding Albert Uderzo and Anne Goscinny on that Monday in September were four fervent, wide-eyed Asterix fans. Winners of a competition, they didn't waste a second of this very special day during which they got to meet those that they admire so much. The day had just begun for this lucky foursome. In the afternoon, at the offices of Les Editions Albert René, they met with Albert Uderzo in a meeting room lifted directly from an Asterix-inspired dream. Watching them, clearly moved and overcome with admiration for the illustrator signing their albums, the truth finally dawned: for readers, Asterix is more than records and sales figures, it represents an escape to a world that never ceases to make us dream!

Photos : Philippe Cauvin