Friday, August 15, 2008

Voilà notre nuit!

Au Petit Rocher (also known as Chez Dinocheau after its owner) was a popular tavern/restaurant frequented by Parisian 'bohemians' such as Charles Baudelaire in the 1850s and 1860s. It was situated in a cellar at the corner of rues de Navarin and de Breda.

Among the drinkers was the writer Fernand Desnoyers who would regularly sing there, his songs being published in his 1865 collection Chansons parisiennes('Parisian Songs'). One of his songs, 'Les rôdeurs de nuit' ('The prowlers of the night') is a celebration of staying up all night:

Quand le bourgeois dort,
Il fait soif encore,
Passon la nuit a boire!
La rue est toute noire;
Mais les vitraux des boulevards
Sont en feu, comme des regards.
Atmosphere enflammée,
Filles dans la fumée,
Eau-de-vie et bruit,
Voilà notre nuit!

(When the bourgeois sleeps,
We are thirsty, still;
Let's drink the night through!
It's quite dark outside;
But the windows on the streets are
Ablaze like people's glances.
Burning atmosphere,
Girls in the smoke,
Brandy and noise,
This is our night!)

Source: Paris: The Secret History - Andrew Hussey (London: Viking, 2006)

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