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New Paris Museum Lets You Tour the Time-Capsule Home of a Scandalous Icon | Frommer's Nate Bolt [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

New Paris Museum Lets You Tour the Time-Capsule Home of a Scandalous Icon

UPDATE, April 18, 2023: This post, originally published December 17, 2021, has been updated with new information.

Even before French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg died in 1991, fans began scrawling tributes on the facade of his home in the 7th arrondissement of Paris

After the entertainer's death from a heart attack at age 62, the colorful spray-painted hommages on the building's exterior only proliferated. 

As you can imagine, the neighbors weren't exactly thrilled at first. 

But then, the provocative pop icon, best known for his stylish, unclassifiable output of the 1960s and '70s, always did have a knack for stirring up trouble.

After all, as the English-language, France-focused magazine The Connexion points out, we're talking about a musician who got himself banned from radio for a while for including simulated sex sounds in his biggest hit, "Je t'aime… moi non plus," who was notorious for drunken and sometimes misogynistic outbursts, and who used foul language to pervily hit on Whitney Houston during a live TV show in the '80s. To cite just a few examples. 

None of that has dissuaded pilgrims from turning the exterior of Gainsbourg's townhouse at 5 bis rue de Verneuil into a shrine, adorning the walls with portraits and messages. 

(Serge Gainsbourg in 1981 | Credit: Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0])

While the street art changes constantly, the interior of the house, where Gainsbourg lived with partner Jane Birkin starting in 1969, has remained untouched for 30 years, right down to the Gitanes cigarettes in the ashtrays. (The couple split up in 1980.)

Now, this time capsule of French pop is being opened to the public for the first time. 

Thanks to an effort led by actor-singer Charlotte Gainsbourg—daughter of Serge and Birkin—the building will begin welcoming guests as the Maison Gainsbourg on Wednesday, September 20. 

Notable areas of the interior, according to The Guardian, include Serge Gainsbourg's black-walled bedroom and the living room, where he composed music at the piano. 

The museum's website claims the residence contains around 25,000 items, including furniture, Gainsbourg's clothes, photographs, and a large art collection with works by Salvador Dalí and Claude Lalanne, among others. 

Maison Gainsbourg will also encompass another building across the street with museum exhibits, a bookstore, a gift shop, and, fittingly, a piano bar.

General admission to see the house and museum costs €25 ($27), or, to see the museum only (meaning you'd have to skip the house), €12 ($13).

Tickets must be booked in advance at The first batch of tours has already sold out, but new slots will be released soon. You can subscribe to the museum's newsletter for the latest info.