The singer Edith Piaf (1915-1963) is a legend in France, usually known by Americans for her 1947 hit La Vie en Rose and her defiant classic, Non, Je ne Regrette Rien. For the centennial of her birth the French National Library (BnF) has a major exhibition, PIAF, about her life, her music, and her loves.
“An entire room just about her lovers?!” said my friend in disbelief as we walked through the exhibit. “Bien sûr!” You can even see the dress worn and the Oscar won by actress Marion Cotillard, who portrayed Piaf in the film La Môme (aka La Vie en Rose in the US).
If you visit the exhibit, there is a neat little takeaway bonus: a free 10-page guide in English titled “In the Footsteps of Edith Piaf” which is a 4-hour, self-guided tour through Paris of all the places she lived, performed, ate, and, ultimately, now lies in peace, from the private Edith Piaf Museum (totally worth a visit) to Père Lachaise Cemetery (c’mon, how big of a Doors fan were you, really?). It’s a great little guide, with all of the important transportation links between each place, fun anecdotes, and even an offer of a free glass of Champagne if you book one of her favorite restaurants and show them the guide (two sample pages below).
If you can’t make it to the exhibit, download the PDF in English here:
And if you want to continue the magic, don’t forget that Secrets of Paris readers get two tickets for the price of one to the Edith Piaf tribute show, Hymne à Piaf, featuring the amazingly talented singer Caroline Nin (through August 1st, 2015).