To enter Serge Gainsbourg’s Paris home, which will open to the public for the first time on September 20, you must first pass through a metal door. On the right, another door leads to the living room. It’s like entering a space where time has stopped, writes El Pais.
Everything (or almost everything) looks the same as it did on March 2, 1991, the day Gainsbourg — a pop musician and poet who created dozens of hits — died. He was 62 years old. The dim lighting, the black walls, the Steinway piano and Lowry organ, the table hung with police badges and handcuffs, the huge photograph of Brigitte Bardot (one of his famous partners) all create a sense of unreality.
«It’s like a dream,» said Jane Birkin, Gainsbourg’s wife from 1969 to 1980, in the documentary Jane by Charlotte, directed by Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of both artists. It premiered in 2021. Birkin died on July 16 this da. «You could say it’s prehistoric stuff…Like Pompeii,» she says in the movie.
The house 5 Bis Rue Verneuil, a two-story building on a quiet street in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, was Gainsbourg’s residence from 1968 until his death. After that, it was closed down. The facade is covered with graffiti and drawings paying homage to the author of «Je t’aime moi non plus» and «The Ballad of Melody Nelson».
Charlotte — an actress and singer — returned here from time to time. It occurred to her to turn the houses into artist residencies or sell them. But she ruled out those options.
Today — 32 and a half years after Serge Gainsbourg’s death and two months after Jane Birkin’s death — Charlotte Gainsbourg has revealed the interior of the house («5 Bis» as she calls it). Over the years it has been a place of pilgrimage and a temple to pop music, visited by fans and curious passers-by. Until now, they’ve only had to explore it from the outside. But in a few days they will be able to go inside.
The house resembles a museum, it was already one when Gainsbourg lived here. The new Maison Gainsbourg museum consists of a house and a room on the same street as the artist’s museum and a bar named after Gainsbourg, his hooligan alter ego.