It was in 1958 that Bernard Marchois first met Edith Piaf when he
was just sixteen years of age and after that he regularly visited her at her flat and went
to every performance she gave until she died he decided to open up the museum in 1977 with
his own personal memento's and those that were provided by Edith Piaf's family and
Edith Piaf was originally born in 1915 with the name Edith Giovanna Gassion and abandoned
by her mother who was a street singer, Edith was initially taken care of by her
aunt. Then when she was seven years of age she started to tour through Europe with
her father who was a circus acrobat and by the age of eight she was singing with her
When in her early teens, Edith lived with Simone Bertaut who was a street singer and then
when not even out of her teens Louis Leplee, a nightclub impresario discovered Edith and
gave her the stage name Edith Piaf and a nickname of 'Kid Sparrow'.
She was blessed with a wonderful voice and an enthralling stage presence, which meant she
won the hearts of millions and her main fame came after she wrote La Vie en Rose in
1946. But among her other famous songs are Hymne à l'Amour produced in 1949, Milord
written in 1959, and Non, Ie Ne Regrette Rien written in 1960.
Unfortunately, her life was far shorter than what it should have been and although she was
virtually unable to stand up, in 1961 Edith Piaf appeared at the Paris Olympia, but it was
only eighteen months later that she had died of cancer. Edith actually died in the
South of France but so her followers believed that she died in Paris, her body was secretly transported back to her
apartment at 67 Boulevard Lannes in Paris.
Because of her lifestyle the Archbishop of Paris at the time forbade a Mass, yet around
forty thousand fans bombarded her ceremony at Pere-Lachaise and brought the traffic around
Paris to a standstill and on the following day there were over 300,000 Edith Piaf records
sold in Paris alone.
The Musée Edith Piaf is not very well known and is reasonably hard to find in the 11th
Arrondissement of Paris, but is not far from the Père
Lachaise cemetery where Edith is buried and has a plaque on the building's façade
that says 'Les Amis de Edith Piaf'.
This small personal museum has a great collection of photographs and pictures of the star,
to some of her favourite outfits from famous shows, and a whole range of fascinating music
related paraphernalia along with personal effects such as jewellery, furniture, letters
and a life-sized teddy bear given to her by her husband.
You can have a guided tour by Bernard Marchois himself although this will only be in
French, or you can choose to look round at all the different mementos in these two
dedicated rooms on your own, whilst listening to her music in the background.
The museum is open from a Monday to Thursday from 1pm through to 6pm but is shut on all
other days and is also closed on National Holidays.
Also, you need to make an appointment prior to arriving, as you will be given directions
along with an access code to enter the building and then you need to climb four sets of
stairs to be greeted by Bernard.
Because there are no lifts, this museum is not going to be accessible to the disabled and
once you have an appointment it is completely free to visit, although a donation is
Address & Contact Details:
Musée Edith Piaf
5 Rue Crespin du Gast
Telephone: 43 55 52 72