A month or so after daughter Marcelle's death - September 1935, Edith and Mômone made their way to the Champs-Elysées in the hope of a more lucrative day's singing. Standing on the corner of Rue Troyon and Avenue Macmahon Edith was singing 'Les deux ménétriers' when she was approached by a man who was to change her life - Louis Leplée. Handing her a scrap of paper containing his name, address and ten francs he asked her to meet him to audition at his club - Gerny's, Rue Pierre Charron.
Photographs of 'Gernys' and 'Louis Leplée' reproduced by kind permission of Christina L Fisher
Gerny's, Rue Pierre Charron
Things were going from strength to strength until the 6th April 1936. Louis 'Papa' Leplée was murdered in his apartment at 83 Avenue de la Grande Armée and Edith, by her long association with the more dubious characters of Paris, was a prime suspect in the organisation of his death, if not the act itself.
Her new -found popularity brought with it new friends; Maurice Chevalier, Mistinguett - a contemporary of hers and Jacques Borgeat the poet with whom she maintained life long contact.
There was little that Louis wanted to change when it came to her singing voice, but her name, Edith Gassion was considered totally unsuitable. After considering - and rejecting - several names, he hit upon the idea of using the Parisian argot name for sparrow; Edith Piaf was created !
Her opening night was a nerve wracking affair for young Edith. In a black, hand knitted dress, a borrowed scarf hiding a missing sleeve, she faced an initially cold, indifferent audience, but left the stage to riotous applause and cheering.
picking up the pieces...
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