Sixteenth-century writer and moralist Michel de Montaigne is a key figure in contemporary thought. Tolerant, the author of the Essais invites us not to judge others by what we are. An Epicurean, he invites us to love life as it is. A wiser man, he asks us not to take ourselves too seriously : "our occupations are comical", and to remain free : "we must lend ourselves to others and give ourselves to ourselves". Appointed mayor of Bordeaux in 1581, he proved to be a shrewd politician.