A few people have written to me asking about the Cour Saint-Pierre since I’ve mentioned it in a few of my posts. Well to be honest with you, I could have written about this little passageway a lot more than I actually have. As I wrote in Fête de la Musique, I was living in the 17e for a number of years. It was the only time I had lived outside of the 6th arrondissement in Paris.
The Cour Saint-Pierre was like living in a tiny village in France. Everyone moved into this little street around the same time that I did (early 80’s) and everyone just happened to be artists, musicians, writers, actors, and photographers. As I mentioned before, I was the only foreigner amidst a colony of French artists. Everyone became fast friends and we were constantly over each other’s apartments and ateliers on a daily basis. During the warm weather, we would often set out tables and eat dinner outside and talk into the wee hours of the morning, or have parties and laugh and dance the night away.
The passageway was off of a main avenue in Paris and during that time, over 25 years ago, what closed off the entrance way to this little dead-end street was a pornographic movie theater! People were afraid to venture beyond the avenue, especially at night; which was just the opposite for us! Once we turned into the passage, all the hustle and bustle of the street stayed behind us and we felt a sense of security knowing that we knew almost everyone there and someone was always home and had their door or windows open to invite us in for a coffee or a drink.
Although none of us lives there any longer, lasting frienships were made. How could we not? We celebrated birthdays and holidays together, as well as marriages, and births. And of course, when you’re talking about life, we were also there for illnesses, seperations, and deaths. Many of these people are like family and I have watched their children grow into a new generation of artists and friends.
- Odri is one of those friends I have written about. In Chaud Show I mentioned that as a young teenager she would come to my apartment after school and tell me all about her crushes of the day, that is until she met Didier. They’re still together, Didier works in film and television while Odri has her own theater company. Oh yes, and her dad, K.Vasili was one of the artist-painters that happened to be living there at the time.
- I recently mentioned Hélène Darche in my post about Rachida Khalil. Hélène is a great actress with a number of one-woman shows to her credit, but she has branched out beyond her talents as an actor, author, and teacher, and is now a director as well in a number of plays and musicals. Hélène along with Ilan, who has been a choreographer in films for more than thirty years, have recently put on a show at the Casino de Paris. One of Ilan’s most memorable choreographies’ is in the film Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob with Louis de Funès ! It is still a classic after all these years. (You can see the dance here on You Tube.) Ilan didn’t live in the Cour Saint-Pierre, but Hélène did!
- When I wrote about Le Bourget, I mentioned my ex, Jean-Pierre, who is a fabulous architect and has been the perferred architect for the French Department of Defense for over a decade. Jean-Pierre has constructed numerous pavilions at the International Paris Air Show among many other things you see around Paris. Why am I telling you this? Haven’t you guessed, I met Jean-Pierre in the Cour Saint-Pierre and we’re still very good friends! He wasn’t living there, but a friend of his, Eric, who’s a photographer and also shoots commercials and publicity ads, was.
- I also wrote two posts, Francis Lai – Move Over and Men’s Fashion in Paris. Martin and Antoine are both talented young Parisians who are making a name for themselves in their respected fields. Monique, who is Antoine’s mom, works in film editing and Martin’s dad, Monique’s brother Jacques is a cinematographer. Although Monique didn’t live in the passage, she is a friend who I met there (through Eric) and I have watched Martin and Antoine grow from little kids into two fine talents in their respective fields.
- Jackie, who I wrote about in Michel Drucker’s Red Couch, is also a friend that I met through Monique for the first time in the Cour Saint-Pierre! Jackie’s family as well is filled with interesting and talented people in the entertainment field. Her sister Stephanie is the head of the Association Laurette Fugain after Stephanie’s younger daughter died of leukemia. Her older daughter Marie is a terrific actress, and Marie’s dad is none other than the famous singer Michel.
- My recent post about Geraldine mentions that her dad was a world renown magician and her mom, France, a professional dancer and magician as well. Geraldine was one of the kids in the Cour Saint-Pierre who I watched growing up. Her singing career promises to be as successful as her career on stage that she shares with her famous hubby Carlos.
- Another friend met in the passage is Alain Pozzuoli who has more than 18 books to his credit. He is considered a specialist on Bram Stoker and Dracula . He appears often on radio and television for his expertise on the subject, especially around this time of year with Halloween just around the corner. Alain has a fascination for the bizarre even though he’s very down to earth!
“What about you?” you ask. As a musician, a writer, a poet, and an artist, I became a part of this milieu as though I had orchestrated it! There were a few others living in the passageway who we’ve lost touch with, but the memories of great times during those earlier years still linger on. The old movie theater was torn down and an apartment building went up in its place. The hidden entrance is now open for all to see, but they built a huge iron gate forbidding anyone to enter in unless you live there. The plants and flowers are still there, but is the spirit? It was another time, another place and it was a wonderful serendipitous moment to have lived in the Cour Saint-Pierre.
Photo Credits: Lynn Rodriguez (Two of my drawings that I love.)
All rights reserved. Lynn Rodriguez 2007