This is the end of a soap opera of more than 30 years. Since his death in 1991, fans of the "man with the head of cabbage" go on pilgrimage in front of the 5 bis of the rue de Verneuil in Paris (seventh arrondissement). And dream of entering to discover the incredible interior and its astronomical amount of musical instruments, souvenirs and trinkets arranged by the singer-songwriter.

"That's my home. I don't know what it is: a sitting-room, a music room, a brothel, a museum...", described Serge Gainsbourg, in April 1979, in a television program "L'hôte du jeudi".

The place, photographed during the lifetime of the artist and the mythical couple he formed with actress and singer Jane Birkin, has entered the collective imagination. Louise Verneuil, musician of the emerging French scene, chose her alias in reference to this address.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, actress and singer also, ended the suspense Sunday, "very happy and touched to announce the opening of the House Gainsbourg" on September 20, in a statement sent to AFP.

The tour "will begin with the visit of the House (5 bis rue de Verneuil), a dive into the intimate", continues the artist. "Then a stone's throw away, the Museum (14 rue de Verneuil) will retrace the life of my father through his works and his collection of emblematic pieces".

"Like a treasure"

Charlotte Gainsbourg "hopes to offer the public a special experience, which will perhaps give a new listening to her work. An experience if possible at the height of what he left us".

Serge Gainsbourg lived for 22 years at 5 bis, whose interior "has remained intact since its disappearance in 1991," write the leaders of the place.

Number 14, in addition to a museum "retracing the life and career of the artist", will offer "a bookshop-boutique and the Gainsbarre, café and piano-bar".

The date of this communication is not chosen at random: this Sunday, April 2 marks the 95th anniversary of the birth of Serge Gainsbourg.

It was a long journey to reach an opening to the public. "In the first ten years, when I was the most sure of the project, it was very complicated to bring it to fruition. And then, I backtracked because it was a little bit what I had left of him, so I kept him as a treasure, "said to AFP Charlotte Gainsbourg, in 2021, the year of the 30th anniversary of the disappearance of her father.

"But when I went to New York -- now I'm back in Paris -- I distanced myself and I understood that it had to be done," she added.

"Very arranged brothel"

This house, "it's him, his personality, it's quite surprising," she said. The title "L'hôtel particulier", on the legendary album "Histoire de Melody Nelson", is inspired by the place.

"In my mother's time (Jane Birkin), there was little. Then after that, there was more and more very arranged brothel (laughs). He turned it in his lifetime into a museum full of objects, we had trouble walking without being afraid of breaking something."

She remembered in particular "a bust of (her) mother". "It's a cast of his body, it's very, very beautiful. At first it was in plaster, then he did it again in bronze."

The Maison Gainsbourg expects to welcome nearly 100,000 visitors per year and will also offer, according to its managers, "cultural programming in situ, digital and outside the walls".

© 2023 AFP