June 01, 2007

Lapin Agile


The immediate neighbour to the vineyard (see yesterday) is a small cabaret, called Lapin Agile. (I could tell the story behind the name, but that would take too much room here.)

The small building must have been there for a few centuries and it was obviously always some kind of place for eating and drinking. Around 1900 a personality with the nickname “Frédé” gave new life to it and it became a meeting place for all kinds of artists. “Frédé” played the guitar and the violoncello, sang and got the guests to actively participate. Already or later famous artists were regular guests, like Appolinaire, Marcel Proust and painters like Renoir, Utrillo, Braque, Modigliano, Picasso (always the same), but also Fernand Léger and Maurice Vlaminck.

Around 1920 “Frédé’s son took over.

A lot of musicians and singers have performed here in the beginning of their career, surprisingly also including some classic music performers like Alexandre Lagoya, Ida Presti, Siatoslav Richter, Leontyne Price

The guestbook is also fantastic. There are drawings, poems, signatures by all the famous artists who have worked or visited the place, but there have also been some occasional visitors like Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Ernest Hemmingway, Edward G. Robinson, Robert Mitchum, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Laurence Bacall, Henry Miller and… Eleanor Roosevelt, The Empress of Japan… (I neglect here the local French celebrities.)
Steve Martin made a play called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”.

The life of the cabaret goes on. What will become of today’s performers?

14 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

Another nice post, Peter. I like what you do and your narratives are so easy to understand and interesting too. I think I recognized all the names and saw some of the people myself in the movies or elsewhere. Those were the days.

I did come back to thank you for your repeated visits to my blog. I am happy you saw the answers to the numbers of birds on my property. They are not all here at one time but they are all here except the Canada Goose. I had to get her picture at our park. I have ducks here that come and go and everything else.

Thanks again. I appreciate it a lot.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville Daily Photo
My Photography

Ex-Shammickite said...

Peter: Au Lapin Agile looks like a little place I would love to visit. I was in Paris 2 years ago, but unfortunately le lapin was not on my itinerary. However I had a wonderful time in Paris, Strasbourg, Arras, Vimy, and then to Caen and the WW2 beaches.

Your history of this little building is quite fascinating. What stories the walls could tell!

Olivier said...

le lapin agile, un bout de l'histoire de Paris. ce quartier t'inspire et tant mieux pour nous. Bon Weekend

Matritensis said...

This place, bring at my mind, the Maupassant´s books, i don´t know why

hpy said...

En extra kommentar, men vad kan jag saga om kaniner?

ruth said...

I've read about le lapin agile, but I haven't been there. It must be a lot of fun to see all the art and paraphernalia from those celebrity visits. I can understand why Montmartre was such a draw for them, there is something quite magical about it.

black feline said...

hopefully the authorities will earmark this piece of history for conservation....

Peter said...

abraham lincoln:
I try to do my best but will probably never reach your level!

ex-shammickite:
You have still a lot to see in France!

olivier:
Oui, mais les lecteurs vont peut-être se lasser. Il faut peut-être que je quitte mon quartier de temps en temps.

matritensis:
I know about a short story, "The Mask" which took place in a dance hall at Montmartre. The building is still there.

hpy:
Vet ej. Ingenting?

ruth:
I took the photo an afternoon and did not go in (anyhow closed), but I have been there before. Yes, it's clearly worth a visit. Then it depends of who performs the night you go there.

black feline:
I hope so. I guess it would be impossible to have it destroyed. There would be a new French revolution!

April said...

It's so nice to see all the places again through your eyes and camera lens. And even better: to get so much information.

Matritensis said...

The mask? i don´t remember, It seems to me that it is a history on an old man dancer, really?

In response at your comment in my blog, i find this:
http://www.dailyphotoblog.com/site/index.php
I´m not sure if this is the same:
Around The World with Daily Photoblogs

richard said...

Peter, thanks for some great insights and commentary (as ever!) I saw a production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" in Zurich about 5 years ago but had no idea about the history. It's a small world though

Shionge said...

You always impressed me Peter...tell me what is your typical day like really :)

Nice post!

Peter said...

april:
Now retired, I have time to stroll around and look and then I get curious and try to remember certain things I have heard and also try to learn something more, for myself and hopefully for some others.
As I don't consider myself as a top photographer and just use a very simple camera, I have no ambition to make the "best photos", but I beleive in the little story behind and if possible a dialogue between the visitors and myself in the comments part.

matritensis:
Yes, you are right, but I believe the action took place in a dancing place which now is some kind of music theatre called Elysées-Montmartre. Maybe there is also something else from Montmartre, but I cannot remember.

richard:
Good, so you saw the play. I didn't. As I understand, it's about Einstein and Picasso. I don't think that Albert has signed the guestbook, but maybe they met, there or elsewhere.

shionge:
My typical day today, since quite recently, is to "do nothing", meaning that I take the day as it comes, depending on weather and possible appointments with the hairdresser, the dentist, friends... This leaves me easily some time for blogging. I wonder how you, busy people, manage to do blogging on top of everything else. A couple of months ago I would not have dreamt of blogging.

www.teresaestevez.com said...

For my part every person may read this.