Culture, Education, France, History, Music, Tourism, Travel

72 Rue de Belleville, Paris: Edith Piaf’s Birthplace

“On the front steps of this house was born
on December 19, 1915 in stark poverty
whose voice, later, would awe the world”

On this doorstep, over a hundred years ago on December 19, 1915, the celebrated singer Edith Piaf was born into the arms of a policeman who swaddled her in his raincoat and handed the newborn back to her mother. Or so the legend goes, one that was maintained by Piaf herself… Her birth certificate attests that she was born in Hôpital Tenon, a more plausible if less romantic story.

We were fortunate to be able to step into the building…

… and walk down this hallway…

… which leads to this courtyard.

Although she would, in her short life, rise to the heights of celebrity and become wealthy in her own right, this neighbourhood is where it all began. Her music, which rang with the melancholy of poverty, loss, and despair, was the echo of the poorer parts of the Paris of her time. The neighbourhood unfortunately still remains seedy and unkempt, and this landmark stands broadly neglected, and even desecrated by the graffiti of local vandals.

Despite her humble origins and the tragic events of her life, La Môme kept singing, and taught the world to see la vie en rose


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