Photo of the Week

Paris-Update-Giverny

Cherry blossoms in Giverny. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update What's On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Contemporary art fair

ArtParis300

 

"Le Port de Carnon" (2016), by Vincent Bioulès, at Galerie La Forest Divonne, Art Paris.

> Art Paris: 144 galleries. Grand Palais, Paris, March 30-April 2.

Celebrating crafts
> Artisans open their studios, hold exhibitions and give demonstrations of such crafts as jewelry-making or woodworking for Les Journées des Métiers d'Art. Various locations, Paris, March 31-April 2.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Thierry Fremaux's Lumière, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, March 31.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

 

Hot Topics - Tales of la Ville

 

Golf Drouot

Rocking to a
Nostalgic Beat

Paris Update Golf Drouot Henri-Leproux Johnny Hallyday Eddy Mitchell Jean-Louis Rancurel

Henri Leproux, founder of the Golf Drouot, with Johnny Hallyday and Eddy Mitchell. © Jean-Louis Rancurel

Last week, a little-known (outside of France) clan gathered in the City Hall of Paris’s ninth arrondissement to celebrate its past glory. Black leather jackets, gray ponytails and dark glasses abounded in the crowd filled with aggressive paparazzi and guests pushing and shoving to get a glimpse or a photo of... well, I’m not sure – some other people with black leather jackets, gray ponytails and dark glasses, whose faces are familiar only to French rockers of a certain age. The occasion was the installation of a plaque commemorating the nightclub Golf Drouot – which had the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of French rock – at no. 2, rue Drouot.

One helpful woman in the packed room where a copy of the plaque was unveiled – too young

Paris Update Golf Drouot plaque

herself to have been a client of the club but whose boyfriend had been a drummer in a group that played there – tried to fill me in. “There’s Danyel Gérard over there,” she said. I was unenlightened. “He’s standing next to Paul-Loup Sulitzer.” Ah, there was a name I recognized, but wasn’t he a millionaire novelist known for his “financial Westerns”? Yes, but he was also a rock fan who had frequented the club famed in France for helping to kickstart the careers of Johnny Hallyday (real name: Jean-Philippe Smet) and Eddy Mitchell (real name: Claude Moine), two French rock-and-roll idols who made it big by imitating the look and sound of American rockers and singing translated versions of their songs. Today, Johnny still inspires Elvis-level passion in his French fans, even though the flint-faced rocker with a tough-guy look is now 70 years old and retired.

Johnny and Eddy, the two biggest stars spawned by the club, failed to show up for

Paris Update Golf Drouot Eddy Mitchell et al

Eddy Mitchell (center), a bank-employee-turned-rock-star, back in the day.

the event, but the fans and former habitués of the club seemed content to share their memories and snap photos of the rockers who did attend, among them Michel Jonasz (the

Paris Update Golf Drouot Jonasz

Michel Jonasz and Vigon at the plaque-unveiling ceremony. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Gurliat/Mairie de Paris

only one I had ever heard of), Alain Chamfort, Erick Bamy, Vigon, Danny Boy (accompanied by the three members of his group, the Pénitents, their heads covered by red balaclavas, as they always had been onstage), Bébert, Moustique (in a gold suit and multicolored baseball cap) and Alain Chennevière.

In the crowd, I met Pascale Morizur, who worked in the cloakroom of the Golf Drouot

Paris Update Golf Drouot Beatles

Paris Update Golf Drouot Sgt Pepper

The early Beatles look and the Sgt Pepper look.

in the early 60s while her late husband René played sax in Johnny’s backup band. With her was hairdresser Jackie Ligier, who was reliving fond memories of dancing at the club on Sunday and Monday afternoons – her days off – with “boys from the Sentier” (Paris’s garment district). “It was the first club in Paris where young people gathered to listen to live rock,” she said.

One musician I spoke to, with the requisite earring, black leather jacket and shades, said he was too young to have been a regular at the Golf Drouot, but he proudly remembered being thrown out by owner Henri Leproux after showing up drunk as a young teenager.

Paris Update Golf Drouot photos

Looking for their younger selves in a display of photos from the club.

Another man, Alain Truffaut, had given up his early career as a drummer in a band that played at the club to become an airline pilot.

The biggest star I met at the gathering, as far as I could tell, was Antoine Baciu, who grew up to be an automobile lighting engineer, but who in the heyday of the club in the mid-60s had had a popular Dracula act with his group, Les Murators. Dressed as the famed vampire, he

Paris Update Golf Drouot Dracula

The 22-year-old Antoine Baciu as Dracula.

would burst out of a coffin and gnaw on raw beef hearts, which he then threw into the audience. The high points of his career were being asked to stand in for Donovan at the famed Olympia concert hall after the British singer was injured by falling out of an airplane

Paris Update Golf Drouot poster

A poster from the club’s groovy period.

(the stairway had not yet been put into place), and opening for the Moody Blues a couple of times, also at the Olympia.

The Golf Drouot’s strange name is explained by the fact that it actually housed a nine-hole miniature golf course in its previous incarnation as a tearoom. The club closed in

Paris Update Golf Drouot

1981, and what used to be the Café de l’Angleterre next to it on the corner of Boulevard Montmartre is now a McDonald’s. Today, the only sad – and ersatz – vestige of the neighborhood’s rock-and-roll heritage is the Hard Rock Café down the road.

For a thorough history of the Golf Drouot (in French) by some of those who lived the life, visit www.golfdrouot.fr.

Heidi Ellison

Click here to read all of this week’s new articles on the Paris Update home page.

Reader Reaction: Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

Support Paris Update by ordering books from Paris Update’s Amazon store at no extra cost. Click on your preferred Amazon location: U.K., France, U.S.

© 2014 Paris Update