There is a song that always gets me daydreaming of Paris when I hear it. It melts my heart. As it plays, images of Paris flood my mind….lovers strolling along the banks of the Seine, hand in hand, stealing a kiss; couples sitting outside at a cafe, watching life pass by; or flinging open the floor length windows in my hotel, gazing at people in the cobblestoned street below or the rooftops above. That song is Le Vie en Rose. And no rendition can compare to Edith Piaf’s (although Louis Armstrong’s trumpet can definitely tug at my heartstrings). When I was planning my first trip to Paris, this was the song I would listen to to ‘put me in the mood’. Whether I was booking a hotel, looking for restaurants or surfing the web for airfare…I would play this song over and over. You can listen right here…
Fast forward to June 2007. Imagine how excited I was to finally get to see the movie, La Vie en Rose, which is based on the life of the woman behind the song. So excited in fact that my heart was beating as fast as the TGV from Nice to Paris at 500 kph! The film was fantastic, and Marion Cotillard poured her heart, body and soul into playing Ms. Piaf….I really felt as if I was hearing Edith herself and that I was watching her…not just an actress. What a wonderful, heartfelt, tribute to the talented little sparrow (Piaf means sparrow in French). In my opinion, Marion deserves the Academy Award for Best Actress for the next ten years running! Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren…eat your hearts out! But I digress.
I feel so privileged to have been able to learn about her life through this film and not just through her songs. She was born with passion and a gift for song; She struggled to make something of herself and did just that. She was born into nothing and became something! She knew nothing of love at a young age. No loving parents or family to speak of, yet in the end it was the love of song, her fans and her country that kept her going. She performed until the very end, because that was all she had. She wove herself deeply into the fabric of France…she is, was and always will be part of French culture. Watch the trailer for La Vie en Rose here..
There are many life lessons embedded in her story. Now, every time I hear her songs, not only will I be happily daydreaming of Paris, but I will feel an underlying sadness for her with a bit of inspiration mixed in. Her songs will serve as a constant reminder that everyone is born with a gift and even though you may be faced with obstacles along the way, you too can make your dreams come true, if you believe in yourself and work hard enough. She certainly did.