Paris is at the top of the list of romantic places in the world no matter what season or occasion. So, what’s going on in Paris when St. Valentine’s Day comes? Way too much! So I hide inside a little cafe observing strangers as I write love letters.
It’s Edith Piaf who has inspired me. During her short affair with the French cyclist Louis Gérardin she wrote over 50 letters. A few years ago, these unpublished before letters were auctioned by Christie’s and bought by an anonymous collector for 67,000 euros.
Piaf met her lover in 1951, two years after the tragic death of the love of her life – the boxer Marcel Cerdan. But, in one of the first letters to „Toto” (as she called the cyclist) she wrote: “My blue love, our first separation … darling, I think I can say that never has a man taken me as much, and I believe I’m making love for the first time”. In another letter she mentioned marriage and children.
“La Môme Piaf’s” love letters also uncover her dark side including her alcohol abuse and morphine addiction. „You have rescued me just in time. I have sworn in Church that I will never touch another glass of alcohol (if we marry)” she wrote. Gérardin, the 13-time French speed racing champion, was already married and he got frightened by the deluge of letters. To every demand to leave his wife, he replied with stony silence. One day he said: “Forty-eight hours with Piaf are more tiring than a lap in the Tour de France”.
A love letter is something special and unique nowadays. I hope my letters will live eternally and be passed on to future generations, because I am not willing to send them to anyone now. So many couples in love, walking in Paris on Valentine’s Day, is sufficient inspiration for me to write about love. Just like that, for posterity. Even if they will eventually forget such a quaint literary form as a letter… I will be ending my letters like Piaf would do – “Je t’aimmmmmmmmmmmmmmmme” with 16 “m’s”.