I usually end up in Paris in-transit, at 7am, straight off a late-night, Dover-Calais ferry with 12 hours to kill before catching the night train south to the Basque Country. In fact, the one time I actually went there for an overnighter is indelibly marked by the roughhouse groping I received on Boulevard de la Chapelle. Each time, early doors, before our layover begins to drag with 10€ steak-sponges, blisters, nark and catatonic meanders in the Forum les Halles shopping mall, I always make a beeline for 5 bis Rue de Verneuil, Serge Gainsbourg’s former home off the Champs Elysee. Many others do the same: the high wall that hems Serge’s Paris house is covered with stencilled grafitti and scrawled messages of respect, admiration, desire. Each time, I kick my heels on the kerbside, astonished by the kind of (not cultish or kitschy, but truly popular) devotion he inspires.
Currently, 18 years after his death, Serge’s house remains pretty much as he left it. Not that you’d be able to tell from the street; his family have installed security gates to keep devotees out. In 2007, it was reported that Charlotte Gainsbourg, his famous daughter, was hoping to convert it into a museum. For now, here’s a look inside from Vogue Paris in 2007.