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Edith Piaf,Je ne regre rien.

Updated on September 13, 2016

Edith Piaf AKA Edith Giovanna Gassion

With Edith Giovanna Gassion on her birth certificate, Edith Piaf was a singer from France who became regarded widely as the popular national singer of France and as one of the greatest global stars of France. Her life was reflected in her singing with her area of specialties being ballads and Chanson, particularly of sorrow, loss and love. Among her songs are La Foule, Milord, Hymne a l’amour and La Vie en rose.

Despite a lot of stories about her life, a lot of the life of Edith Piaf is mysterious. She was born in the Paris location of Belleville. There is a legend that she was born on the Rue de Belleville 72 pavement but Hospital Tenon is what is on her birth certificate. She was named after a British nurse from World War I named Edith Cavell who was put through execution for helping soldiers from France escape from being German captives.

Abandoned at Birth

The mother of Edith Piaf abandoned her at birth and this is when for a short time she lived with Emma Aicha, her maternal grandmother. After a time her father took her to reside with his mother who ran brothels before he enlisted to fight in the first World War. At Normandy, Piaf was looked after by prostitutes. From the age of three to seven, keratitis caused Piaf to become blind. Her sight was recovered after prostitutes who worked for her grandmother pooled funds to send her to a Saint Therese of Lisieux pilgrimage and was healed miraculously.

At the age of fourteen, she joined her dad in his street acrobatic performance shows throughout France where she was first exposed to having an audience. Later she separated ways from her father by taking a room at the Clermont Grand Hotel in Paris and as a singer on the street who made a living in the suburbs of Paris and in Pigalle Menilmontant. Simone Berteaut was her good friend and when she was sixteen years old she had fallen in love with a delivery boy by the name of Louis Dupont.

She gave birth to Marcelle, her only child at seventeen years of age but found it hard to care for her child and often left her under the care of Dupont. Later, at two years of age, Marcelle passed away due to illness.

Discovery of Edith Piaf

In the Paris area of Pigalle, Edith Piaf was discovered in the year nineteen thirty five by Louis Leplee, a club owner. Upper and lower classes frequented the Le Gemy club located near Champs Elysees. Despite her extreme nerves, he persuaded her to sing and got the nickname Little Sparrow because she was only four feet and eight inches. He taught her to wear a black dress and also the basics of stage presence. Later on in her life, black would always be what she wore. Leading to opening night, an intense public campaign was launched by Leplee which attracted the presence of a lot of celebs including Maurice Chevalier, actor. The gigs in her night club led to the production of 2 records in 1 year.

Leplee was murdered in nineteen thirty-six and Piaf was thought to be part of it but was later acquitted. Later it was found that mobsters killed Leplee and a lot of unwanted media became related to Edith Piaf.

Edith Piaf in the 40s

In the Le Bel Indifferent one act play of Jean Cocteau, Edith became a co-star and began making connections with people who were prominent including Jacques Borgeat, poet and Chevalier. In many of her songs she wrote the lyrics and did tunes collaborations with the composers. In Paris, she later discovered Yves Montand and included him in her stage performances. He later become her lover and her mentor. In a year, he became one of France’s most popular singers. When his popularity reached the same level as hers, the relationship broke up.

Success in Paris

At this point she was quite successful and in great demand. As a matter of fact, she became one of the most popular entertainers in France. She became known internationally after the war and did tours of South America, the United States and Europe. She also participated in the debut of Hector Roberto Chavero who was one of the most important musicians of Argentina.

The Love of Her Life

Edith Piaf married Marcel Cerdan, the boxer who died in an airplane crash in nineteen forty-nine while going to New York City from Paris to see her. The flight of Cerdan was Air France and crashed on the Azores with no survivors. The affair of Piaf and Cerdan made headlines across the globe as Cerdan was also a legend being the former world champion for the middleweight division.

Death of Edith Piaf

At the age of forty-seven, Edith Piaf died of cancer of the liver in her French Riviera Plascassier villa. Hundreds of thousands of fans attended her funeral and allegedly, Parisian traffic stopped completely on her funeral procession.


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    • elle64 profile image

      elle64 4 years ago from Scandinavia

      Yes it is so touching ,and very sad too. She had a hard life. Thanks for commenting.

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 4 years ago from Philippines

      I saw a film on her life story, I think it was called "La Vie en Rose" Her life was a triumph against adversity. When I listen to her rendition of the song Autumn leaves, especially the part she sang in French, I am carried away by the expressive depth of emotion in her voice.