Georges Brassens

Georges Brassens is an icon in France; one of the most celebrated poets, singers-songwriters. He’s maybe not so well-known abroad; his songs are very particular and difficult to translate. He died at the age of 60 in 1981.
I already talked about him in a post about a year ago, more particularly about a park which has got his name, Parc Georges Brassens. He had his house at rue Santos-Dumont, very close to the park.
Last week I discovered his other home in Paris, a very modest one, where he spent 22 years, 1944-66. It’s situated in a small alley, Impasse Florimont. He actually moved in here to hide during leave from a German labour camp, hosted by friends of her aunt, Jeanne Planche and her husband Marcel – in a house with no modern facilities. He could easily have moved to a more comfortable place before as he was quite successful since the mid 50’s, but he was of a modest nature and cared a lot about friendship. Later, when he could, he helped them and bought the neighbouring house and installed the modern equipment that was missing. He actually left only when the old Jeanne, having lost her husband, remarried. There were a lot of animals in the little courtyard. He loved cats. I suppose some friends have added the cats on the wall and the chimney later - see top picture.

Here you can watch and listen to one of his songs (text by Aragon - I found no good recordings with his own text). As always, he is accompanied by his friend Pierre Nicolas.


Cezar and Léia said...

Hello Peter!
Georges Brassens's music sounds very romantic.
I liked the first shot because there is a special detail "I thought I saw a little cat"!!!! :-)
People that like animals usually are good and happy!
Kind regards

Mona said...

Wow! I love those parks! Have been to some myself. Will post pictures soon!
Happy Father's day Peter!

Olivier said...

bel hommage a ce GRAND chanteur. Évidement fan total, et pour feter la musique, rien de mieux qu'un bon Brassens

Wolynski said...

I remember Georges Brassens - I wish I knew French to appreciate him more. Very interesting where he lived.

Adam said...

Great research Peter and a lovely post. I can't say that I'm a huge fan of French music, but Brassens is something else. It is strange that he is not so well known outside France when others such as Brel became famous.

hpy said...

Je ne savais pas que Brassens aimait les chats! C'était donc un bon gars!

Bettina said...

I just love the ceramic cats on the roof.

Last summer I borrowed an apartment near Parc George Brassens so during my two weeks in Paris I went there a few times for a walk in "my" neighbourhood.

Frøken Paris said...

Hei og takk så mye for hyggelig besøk inne hos meg! Du har virkelig en fin og godt dokumentert Paris blogg, jeg har vært innom her et par ganger før, men da uten å kommentere. Ha en trivelig dag!

Cergie said...

Tu aurais pu choisir la chanson "la cane de Jeanne", Brassens était un homme simple et fidèle en amitié.
Si tu descends à Montpellier tu pourras aller lui rendre hommage à Sète au nouveau cimetière, et non au cimetière marin au coté de Paul Valéry
Une belle trouvaille aujourd'hui, Peter, merci. J'irai volontiers faire un tour (un post à cheval entre 14ème et 15ème)

Bagman and Butler said...

Thank you for teaching all us something about Paris every day.

Nathalie said...

C'est une des chansons les plus tragiques de Brassens que tu as choisi là, mais évidemment à l'époque d'avant YouTube les clips n'étaient pas si fréquents qu'aujourd'hui ;-)
...surtout pour quelqu'un d'aussi discret que Brassens. L'enregistrement, faux par moments, ne lui rend pas vraiment justice mais on prend ce qu'on peut!

Ce poème d'Aragon est une merveille mais j'ai évidemment une passion pour les textes de Brassens lui-même.

Bravo pour ce post lié à la fête de la musique même s'il ne relève pas du reportage direct.

Kate said...

The cat on the roof looks totally natural!

Thérèse said...

Effectivement ce n'est pas un hymne à l'amour que tu nous fais écouter mais Brassens restera éternel.

Anonymous said...

Those cats on the roof are really neat. Great idea. Almost reminds me of the legs with a shoe on one foot and a sock on the other bouncing around but sticking out of a car boot or trunk. LOL

Karen said...

The music video is lovely but so sad. I also like the cats in the top photo. Your park photo looks voyeuristic. I picture you hiding in the bushes with your camera. :=]

sonia a. mascaro said...

Nice post, Peter. Did you believe that I know Georges Brassens? When I was in College I love to hear French's singer and composers.

PS: No, I did not learn to play the piano... neither violon and acordeon... I tryed, but I did not succeded...

Azer Mantessa said...

"There is no happy love" and in the end, his sad blinking eyes said that he meant every word he sang.

A very sad song.

Virginia said...

What beautiful photos of his home and the area. The houses remind me of those we saw that day we walked in that lovely neighborhood. I too loved the park shot. It was also nice to hear someone singing in French this morning. I miss that already!

Carole said...

Et en plus il habitait pas très loin de chez moi...
Sacré Georges !
A bientôt Peter.

Ruth said...

Oh dear, there is no happy love. I must have been mistaken. ;)

Brassens is a treasure. Another who makes music from hardship it seems.

Owen said...

Brassens was a giant... thanks for all this info Peter... and you can add me to the list of people who like your new profile photo, it's very mysterious... the shadow man cometh...

alice said...

La Fête de la musique à ta façon!

Zhang Chunhong said...

Un de mes chanteurs préférés. Ses chansons sont tellement belles et poétiques. Bp d'admirations pour lui et pour Peter, qui nous le fait connaître mieux. Sincèrement.

Starman said...

I admit I had never heard of him until we stayed at a small hotel just down the street from Parc Georges Brassens.

parisbreakfasts said...

Nice Monday story Peter!
Wonderful first photo especially..

krystyna said...

Georges Brassens, really interesting artist. Thank you Peter for this post.
Now, I know him and I like him and I like his arts.
What a pity he died so young/in my age/

Have a good day!

Shammickite said...

"There is no happy love", well, I don't agree, not completely. I had not been aware of M. Brassens, thank you for introducing him to me. I love the cats in your first picture.

Catherine said...

Thanks for reminding us about him...beautiful shots of the park..

Catherine said...

Thanks for reminding us about him...beautiful shots of the park..

Bergson said...

un voyage chez Brassens pour la fête de la musique

Blind Fly Theater said...

Bonjour, Peter!

Thank you so much for the introduction to Mr. Brassens... I love these types of intros, the inside look at the heart of French culture... I watched and listened to your YouTube selection several times... The sound is so soothing and beautiful, and I can hear and see the passion he has in this presentation, especially in his eyes and face at the end.
I also watched another YouTube video of "Les passantes" and found that similarly beautiful and touching.
I've owned a wonderfully sounding classical guitar for several years now, and though I am not very good at playing it, these types of inspirations have me dusting it off for another experience of resonating bliss.
Thanks again Peter for another glimpse into the heart of your culture... a very satisfying one it is!
Merci Beaucoup,
Au revoir,

Unknown said...

This is a great tribute to Georges Brassens! Well done, Peter!

PeterParis said...

Yes, there is a cat, even three I think! :-)

Thanks! Will look at "your" parks! :-)

Oui, j'ai oublié de faire une allusion à la Fête de la Musique, mais c'était peut-être évident? :-)

PeterParis said...

Yes, I believe a fairly good French would help, the translations are difficult and hardly giving the right feeling! :-)

Maybe "too French"? :-)

Tu vois! :-)

PeterParis said...

Maybe you passed in front of his second home? :-)

Froken Paris:
Tack ... och välkommen tillbaka! :-)

J'ai cherché "la cane", mais je n'ai pas trouvé un bon enregistrement sur YouTube. :-( Tu as raison, je ferai peut-être un saut à Sète! :-)

PeterParis said...

Butler and Bagman:
Every SECOND day! :-)

Oui, j'ai eu du mal à trouver. Il y avait aussi "Les Passants" que j'aime beaucoup, mais ce texte n'est pas de lui non plus! :-( :-)

Well, it isn't! :-)

PeterParis said...

... et non, désolé! :-)

Well, not quite the same thing, but why not? :-)

You are right, I felt a little bit like that! ... but I liked it for the atmosphere! :-)

PeterParis said...

Nice to hear that you "studied" a bit of French music! :-)

Although I think he loved one woman only - at least most of his life! (The text is not by him.) :-)

Soon you will hear it again! :-)

PeterParis said...

... mais il est parti en 66! A bientôt!

Although Brassens, the composer here, and Aragon who wrote the poem, were possibly quite happy in love. At least they declared their love to one woman (respectively) most of their lives (Puppchen and Elsa respectively)! :-)

Happy if you are pleased! :-)

PeterParis said...

... oui, à ma façon! :-)

Merci pour nous deux, Georges et moi! Sincèrement! :-)

Never too late to learn! :-)

PeterParis said...

Good enough for a Monday! :-)

60 is too early! :-)

Good that you don't agree (completely)! :-)

PeterParis said...

A pleasure! :-)

En effet! :-)

Very pleased that you took the time to listen carefully! "Les Passantes" is also one of my other favourites of Brassens! I also have tried the guitar a bit, but Brassens is much more difficult to play than you first imagine! :-)

PeterParis said...

I did my best! :-)

La Belette Rouge said...

Love-love-love the cat statues on the roof. What an adorable touch.

Babzy.B said...

Post tres intéressant , je suis contente de découvrir les lieux où il a vécu à travers tes photos :)

GMG said...

Still have a case with the whole collection in vinil of the «polisson de la chanson»! Outstanding! But that was for people of the early sixties... ;)

Catherine said...

Un petit coin vraiment touchant, à la mesure de la personnalité du propriétaire. Et une chanson qui me touche encore davantage.

PeterParis said...

La Belette Rouge:
Qtill wonder how they got there! Yes, they are nice! :-)

Moi aussi, j'étais content de l'avoir trouvé! :-)

I hope also for later generations! :-)

PeterParis said...

Oui, on est touché par les chansons mais aussi déjà par le personnage! :-)