If you are interested in French culture you almost certainly know of Serge Gainsbourg. His wikipedia page describes him as a singer, songwriter, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor and director. He’s most famous as a singer/songwriter, his huge output of music covering all genres from rock to funk to new wave – he even recorded a reggae version of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem. His lyrics were compared to poetry, he played with words and was clever, funny and often controversial, in life as well as in his art. He is regarded by many as the greatest French popular singer ever.
Already a legend in life, after his death he also became a cult hero. The house in the 7th arrondissement where he lived from 1969 until his death in 1991 now belongs to his daughter, actress and singer Charlotte. There were stories that it would open as a museum, as inside it’s apparently left as it was when he died, but this did not happen, or at least has not happened yet. So fans from all around the world travel to pay homage to him on the walls of his house and garden.
The otherwise chic street in St Germain des Près seems to tolerate the colourful and ever evolving graffiti. Every now and then it will all get painted over, possibly by the local residents, but reappears almost immediately.
If you are interested in learning more about Gainsbourg and his work a good place to start is his wikipedia page or this Vanity Fair article. If you already know and love him, a trip to the rue de Verneuil is a must during a visit to Paris. You can also pay your respects at his grave in the Montparnasse Cemetery.
- 5 bis rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris. metro: rue du Bac