5bis Rue de Verneuil Paris, former home to Serge Gainsbourg © French Moments
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Last Updated: 16 July 2023

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Have you heard of Rue de Verneuil in Paris? Probably not, but surely you’ve heard of the name of one of its famous residents: Serge Gainsbourg.

 

Rue de Verneuil

The Rue de Verneuil is a long, quiet, and conventional street in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It is also an old street created in 1640 and takes its name from Henri de Bourbon-Verneuil (1601-1682), one of King Henri IV’s legitimated sons.

Rue Verneuil seen from rue des Saints-Pères marking the limit between the 6th and 7th arrts. © French Moments
Rue Verneuil seen from rue des Saints-Pères marking the limit between the 6th and 7th arrts. © French Moments

 

Rue Verneuil and Serge Gainsbourg

When entering the street from the rue des Saints-Pères, one does not need to walk far before stepping onto a curious estate (number 5 bis) protected by a high outer wall covered with colourful tags.

These tribute graffiti are arguably the most famous in Paris because they pay homage to a celebrity who has resided in the street since 1969.

We’re talking of Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991), a French singer, songwriter, pianist, film composer, poet, painter, screenwriter, writer, actor, and director who is regarded as one of the most influential figures in French popular music. 

Gainsbarre (as the French nicknamed him) was renowned for his often provocative and scandalous releases, including the songs “Je t’aime, moi non plus“.

The outer wall of the house of Serge Gainsbourg covered with graffiti © French Moments
The outer wall of Serge Gainsbourg’s house with graffiti © French Moments

The English-born actress Jane Birkin (1946-2023) was his partner for over twelve years.

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 1974. Photo by Umberto Prizzi [Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 1974. Photo by Umberto Prizzi [Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Even in his lifetime, fans already decorated the property wall with tags, much to the discontent of the neighbourhood, which demanded regular cleaning.

The outer wall of the house of Serge Gainsbourg covered with graffiti © French Moments
The outer wall of Serge Gainsbourg’s house with graffiti © French Moments

The Gitanes-smocking provocateur passed away at his home on 2 March 1991, and since his death, it is said that daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg would have left everything intact inside. The place quickly became a celebrated shrine for his fans.

The outer wall of the house of Serge Gainsbourg covered with graffiti © French Moments
The outer wall of Serge Gainsbourg’s house with graffiti © French Moments

 

The place abounds with anecdotes. There, Juliette Gréco, who lived with Michel Piccoli at number 33 on the same street, inspired Serge Gainsbourg to write the song La Javanaise.

 

Find out more about Gainsbourg

Check out the following bios and websites:

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Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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