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"Jacques Prevert, Paris la belle," an exhibition at Hôtel de Ville

If you’re a hardcore francophile, you already worship the legendary Jacques Prévert. If you’ve never heard of him, perhaps you should know that he wrote the words to the famous song “Autumn Leaves”. Now – for the first time – the Paris council is organising a huge exhibition retracing his diverse work, including photo collages, screenwriting and poetry. A fascinating life that you’ll be able to learn all about…

Coloured promotional photo taken from the film “Les Enfants du Paradis” by Marcel Carné (1943-1945), with Jean-Louis Barrault, Arletty and Étienne Decroux, scenario et script by Jacques Prévert. Photo credit : Roger Forster/Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. © ADAGP 2008,Pathé Production

We’re telling you about the exhibition “Jacques Prévert, Paris la belle” not only because it’s an exceptional opportunity to discover Monsieur Prévert’s wide range of artistic talent, but also because he grew up near the Jardin du Luxembourg and became an intellectual icon around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Yes, the story of Jacques Prévert has very close ties to the area around our hotels!

Born on 4th February 1900 in Neuilly-sur-Seine just outside Paris, Jacques was the second son of Suzanne and André Prévert. His older brother Jean died from typhoid fever aged 17. His second brother Pierre, born in 1906, was to collaborate with Jacques throughout his lifetime. His mother was a naturally jolly person who taught him to read through fairy tales. However his father was a much more dour figure, a literary, theatre and cinema critic who would often take Jacques with him to the theatre and cinema. And Jacques lapped it up.

After moving to Toulon in the south of France for a year, the family came back to Paris in 1907 to live in rue Vaugirard, moving to rue Férou in 1908. Jacques was sent to Catholic school in rue d’Assas until 1914, but it bored him and he started bunking off for more interesting – artistic – pursuits.

At 15, having gained his certificate, he decided to stop school altogether and did odd jobs to survive. He was called into military service in 1920.

“Les Garçons de la rue,” a collage by Jacques Prévert over a photo by Robert Doisneau. © Fatras, Succession Jacques Prévert / Private collection of Jacques Prévert

That is just the beginning of a long, interesting story woven around an exceptional life. From his first rebellious days to his friendship with Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, from his work as a scriptwriter to the complicity he was to have with numerous photographers, the exhibition extensively uses the private Prévert archives, showing that his creativity – over 30 years after his death – is still as fresh and relevant today as it always was.

“Portrait de Janine,” a collage by Jacques Prévert, circa 1943. © Fatras, Succession Jacques Prévert / Private collection Jacques Prévert

Here’s all the essential information for the exhibition “Jacques Prevert, Paris la belle”

When: 2’th October 2008 to 28th Fébruary 2009
Where: Hôtel de Ville, Salle Saint-Jean, 5 rue Lobau, 75004 Paris. Métro Hôtel de Ville (lines 4 & 11)
Opening hours: open every day except Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 7pm (last ticket at 6.15pm)
Admission: adults 0 euros, kids 0 euros, students 0 euros, goldfish 0 euros. Yep, free for everyone!
Official site (in French): ici
Wikipedia page for Jacques Prévert: here

Bigger map here