Serge Gainsbourg’s Paris home to open to the public in spring

Over 30 years after the singer’s death, Maison Gainsbourg will host a museum, bookstore and piano-bar

10 December 2021

The iconic yet controversial artist Serge Gainsbourg’s home will open to the public next spring Pic: Maison Gainsbourg in Paris

By Oliwia Geisler

The iconic yet controversial artist Serge Gainsbourg’s home will open to the public next spring with tickets due to go on sale in early 2022.

Ticket prices are yet to be confirmed.

The Parisian singer and songwriter’s home at 5 bis rue de Verneuil in the 6th arrondissement, where he lived from 1969 and died in 1991, is currently owned by his daughter Charlotte.

The Maison Gainsbourg also encompasses 14 Rue de Verneuil, which will host the museum, a bookstore and Le Gainsbarre - a piano-bar inspired by the early years of the singer’s career.

The visit will begin with a 30-minute tour through Serge Gainsbours’s home at 5 bis rue de Verneuil, where visitors will be guided by an immersive audio experience.

Back at 14 Rue de Verneuil, they will then have access to the museum, which offers ‘a plunge into the life, work and career of Serge Gainsbourg, through a chronological journey made up of emblematic and previously unseen works of Maison Gainsbourg's collection and its rich documental archive’.

The bookstore and gift shop will address the artist’s facets through the different eras of his career, including ‘the Rive Gauche of the early 1960s, Swinging London in the early 70s and the 80s between palace hotels and Le Palace’. It will feature books, records and fashion accessories.

There is also a library where visitors will find books about the singer as well as a selection from his personal favourites.

Le Gainsbarre will be a café-restaurant open for meals from breakfast through to dinner, and at night will turn into a cocktail bar featuring concerts, cinema screenings and workshops.

Serge Gainsbourg is known almost as much for his musical hits, including Le poinçonneur des Lilas and Initials BB, as for his decadent and controversial lifestyle.

His most famous song, Je t'aime … moi non plus, was initially banned from the radio for being too explicit as it featured stimulated sounds of a female orgasm at the time rumoured to have been recorded during live sex.

After his first heart attack aged 45, Gainsbourg called a press conference around his hospital bed – where he is said to have laid covered in a Hermès blanket, having deemed the hospital blankets too ugly – to announce that he planned to smoke and drink more.

He also vulgarly propositioned Whitney Houston on TV, released a reggae version of the French national anthem and recorded a song about incest with his then 12-year-old daughter Charlotte titled Lemon Incest.

However, despite - or perhaps in part due to - his scandalous antics, the singer remains hugely popular today, with the Maison Gainsbourg exhibition curator Sébastien Merlet saying:

“Where other artists, singers, authors and composers build and maintain careers, Serge Gainsbourg has built an oeuvre. Methodically. Better than anyone. He embodies the golden age of French songwriting: his production follows the contours of the most prolific period of the recording industry.”

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