Solving a graffiti mystery in Paris
About this same time three years ago, I was in Paris for my honeymoon. We stayed in the cozy, quaint Hotel Verneuil on the rue de Verneuil. We were just steps away from the Musée d’Orsay, local shops and cafés. Here’s a look at the rue de Verneuil. Our hotel is on the left.
Across the street from our hotel, there was a swath of neatly contained graffiti. There was a lone building that some rogue Parisians tagged, and we couldn’t figure out why just that one building. Not one speckle of spray paint touched any of the adjacent buildings. Why was it so neatly contained? And why was there graffiti along such tidy street? We never knew the answer until three years later.
The photo below hangs in the entry way of our loft. Thinking about our time in Paris three years ago this week, my husband decided to do some digging about the origins of the graffiti. Here’s what he found out: Serge Gainsbourg, a much-loved French singer-songwriter, actor and director, used to live in the building. He died in 1991 and is regarded as one of the most influential popular musicians in the world. Tribute graffiti covers the outer wall of his home on the rue de Verneuil in Paris. His daughter now looks after the home.
The Parisians have embraced the graffiti. To them, it’s a fitting tribute to a beloved and legendary artist. I’m glad to now know why the graffiti is there. Three years later, we were finally ambitious enough to figure it out.