Day 191: Visit Serge Gainsbourg.

When I try to describe Serge Gainsbourg to my American friends who aren't familiar with this French icon, it's difficult to sum him up with a quick comparison. He has more range than Sinatra, more than madness than Cash, more vulgarity than Jagger and more charisma than Elvis. His sound ranges from his early days of jazz and pop to spoken word, experimental, reggae to his final days of electroclash and dance. His lyrics are poetic yet sleazy, clever yet simple and saturated with metaphors and obscurities that would make any new French student whose desperate to understand crazy from the double entendres. I'm talking about myself here. Séb always chuckles and nods at his lyrics that go right over my head. Most of them do, but not all...

"Et ses seins, deux spheres, entre lesquelles, J'abandonnais deux mois de salaire, Pour y rouler mon pauvre joint." J'adore. C'est tellement cochon...c'est tellement moi...

I decided to have a theme day on this gorgeous Saturday afternoon and visit Serge's grave and his home wearing my white Repetto jazz shoes, no socks and jeans. I thought I would have visited his grave when I first arrived in Paris but ended up waiting two and half years later to visit one of my favorite songwriters. Bref, on top of being a coquine, I'm a terrible procrastinator. Today, I crossed one more thing off of my France To-Do list.

Serge's family grave at Montparnasse Cemetary

 Chez Serge

The contrast between Serge's home and the bourgeois 6th arrondissement is absolutely incredible. The neighbors cringe at the eyesore located in this otherwise upscale rive gauche neighborhood where they rallied up and painted over the graffiti to find that it was tagged up again by fans and unfortunately vandelisers days later.  

The house is still owned by Charlotte and everything inside is exactly the way it was when he died in 1991. The ashtrays are full with his Gitanes, his shoes and clothes are where they were when he last took them off as well and as his collectibles, art and photographs which are precisely where he had set them down. Nothing has been touched, just the exploded cans of food and perishables. Understandably so.

Je t' non plus.
A sketch outside Serge's home by Joann Sfarr 
the director of the incredible Gainsbourg biopic; La Vie Héroïque

Serge has been a big part of my French life; from being the new girl in town in my first apartment at La Motte-Picquet, experiencing dating in Paris, weathering the trials and tribulations of new and often fleeting friendships, getting engaged then getting dumped to now starting over and loving life again in Paris. There has always been a Serge song to match my emotional climate, be it Gainsbourg or the less attractive Gainsbarre....  


  1. Gotta love Gainsbourg: he was sooooo outrageous!:) Drucker still resents him for what he did live on his show to Whitney Houston;)

  2. @Duchess - You just reminded me to add a link of the Whitney Houston episode as an example of Gainsbarre!! Merci ma poule! : ) Je suis amoureuse de Serge...j'suis hyper fan!!

  3. LOL! My husband calls me "Poule";)

    Know that version of "Comic Strip" with Jodie Foster and Claude François?:)

  4. So cool! I have never seen this before! I knew JF spoke fluent French but didn't know she sang it so beautifully! Color me impressed. : )