Saturday, November 09, 2013

Piaf et Brassai

October 11th marked the 50th anniversary of Edith Piaf's passing.
She was a Belleville girl, supposedly born in the hallway at #72 rue de Belleville a few blocks away from me.
The le petit Piaf/sparrow was a great one for exaggerating the details of her life.
The windows of Belleville were full of Piaf biographies
The walls full of Piaf homage murals
A grand concert was held in the square under the eglise Saint-Jean-Babtiste de Belleville with full marching band.
Everyone was singing along on all her songs though it was too crowded for me.
Over on 182 rue saint Honore an exhibit of the collection of souvenirs from the Bibliotheque Nationale including her petite robe noire. Is Piaf the originator of our little black dress?
Yesterday was the first day of the Brassai photography exhibit at the Hotel de Ville. This woman, perfectly dressed for both Brassai and Piaf wearing head-to-toe black plus a slash of red lipstick.
Back to Piaf but these exhibits overlap don't you think? Are you a fan of both stars? How not to be if you love Paris...
The accordion will always be an icon of Paris and Piaf. It's still played daily in the hallways and onboard the Metro.
Piaf's little accordion...
On the first day at Brassai the lines are just forming. Everyone looks a bit drenched... Hey It's drizzly Paris!
As reflected in Brassai's amazing photos.
A somewhat more glamorous scene backstage at the ballet with les petites rats and an older admirer.
Artist model Kiki of Montparnass and her chums and pets.
Brassai clearly loved to shoot Paris at night
Getting off bus #96 at Hotel de Ville I couldn't resist the reflections on the Seine. Paris at night is divine.
Patisserie Demoncy-Vergne of Belleville created an homage to Piaf. "Le Tourbillon de la Mome" La Vie en Rose as a religieuse? Shouldn't someone create a dessert especially for Brassai? Would it be licorice/reglisse black? I'm off to the Salon du chocolat at Chateau Vaux le Vicomte today, but first a dunk in the pool. The Brassai exhibit is on until 4 March 2014 at Hotel de Ville.
Come see it!


  1. Lucinda5:16 AM

    Paris at night!
    Yum Yum
    love the overlap of Piaf-Brassai

  2. Perfect rose et noir post.
    I remember Venice at night..magical as your shot.

  3. Even I love Paris at night! And the Brassai photo of the umbrellas---perfection!

  4. Carol, how amusing to be reading this post while listening to an NPR segment about a Brazilian lady who's appeared in a production of Piaf. How amusing to have been entertained recently on the R train by a gentleman playing light jazzy tunes on the accordion, even singing a bit. (I'd not encountered this act before on my regular route.)

    Those recent rosy pastry posts were truly spectacular!


    1. Thanks Frances for mentioning the NPR story on Bibi Ferreira! Well worth catching.

  5. Piaf et Brassai - what a fabulous posting! Wish I could be in Paris right this second (and back to October 11) to take advantage of the celebration of the lives of both extraordinarily talented individuals.
    Thank you.

  6. Gorgeous post, Carol. Our French teacher taught her high school French classes through the artistry of Piaf and Montand. Decades later their voices and melodies are still inside my mind. She gave teenage girls the following advice:
    If your toes don't curl with the man you're with like they do when you hear Montand growl out a lyric he's the wrong guy. Piaf's regretting nothing was radical advice for the times. I modified it to regret what I have done, not what I haven't done. Still following my advice!
    Very inspired last photo to close this one. Wonderful!

  7. The French know how to honour their artists.
    What about an exhibition for Carol?

  8. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Thank you for this! Love both artists. We were in Paris last week and I realized we would miss the Brassai exhibit and was SO disappointed. We of course also thought of you --and Bear -- as we traversed our favorite city and all its delights. If you are aware of any Brassai books from the exhibit, could you reply to this post?
    Merci beaucoup and meilleurs voeux!
    Patricia and Eric, Minneapolis

    1. Of course there is a catalog but there are many others on Brassai just as good I'm sure. They were all in the gift shop to browse...

  9. Anonymous2:50 PM

    Hello Carol:
    Lovely post as everyday. Just to drop you a line on Kiki de Montparnasse (and not de Montmartre). This model is being described in a book of the spaniard novelist Maxim Huerta. The books name is UNA TIENDA EN PARÍS (A SHOP IN PARIS). It tells a lovely story about a spaniard painter, a woman, moving to Paris, learning to live there. I recommend you to read it if it is already translated into English.
    The real shop described in the book is called AMOR and it is located in the rue du Pont Louis Phillippe, near the Seine river..
    Regards with my admiration from Spain.


    1. Oh thank you Maribel for the correction and the book information!
      Big merci

  10. Can't wait to see the Brassai exhibit! We tried to go today but it was raining and I had the kids with me and they couldn't take waiting in the rain. As for Kiki, she comes up in every expatriate memoir of Montparnasse in the 20s. Man Ray's model and lover, a party girl, and the author of her own memoir, with an introduction by Ernest Hemingway

  11. Carol,all if you posts are wonderful but,wow! this one is just exceptional.
    Love Piaf,and Montand.Remembering their music just fills the day with pleasure.
    Thank you!

  12. I love Piaf and Brassai :)
    The night shots (Brassai's and your's) are great!

  13. I would sing I regret nothing for a bite of that dessert.

  14. Leslie1:22 AM

    You inspire me everyday.
    Merci Beaucoup!

  15. fantastic! Thank you so much. I made a little pilgrimage to their graves in 1994 and was so moved.

  16. Bonsoir chère amie,

    Une très jolie publication et un bel hommage à Edith Piaf...
    Gros bisous

  17. Very inspiring.. what a great talent she was...

  18. Delightful, informative post as ever Carol, thank you. That rose religieuse looks divine.

  19. Oh, sigh. Which would I enjoy more? Piaf or Brassai? I can't decide -- I would love them both. And at Hotel de Ville? Parfait! Every photos, every observation is so spot on. And your Paris at night photo is stunning.


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