Paris Stories: Depardieu gets passionate about music - two other actors just get passionate

In a movie now in production, Quand j'étais chanteur (When I Was a Singer), Depardieu plays a provincial night-club crooner. He insisted on recording all the songs himself. They include French and American karaoke classics such as "Pour un flirt", "Lady Lay" and "Save the Last Dance for Me".

"I was surprised by how erotic singing can be," Depardieu said last week. "I have recorded 14 songs and I'm thinking, after the film is finished, that I might work them up and release an album." You have to admire the man's energy. And cheek. Roll over Johnny Hallyday. Never mind that nose like an old potato. A star is born.

* * *

We had two bedrooms in our flat decorated following a water leak more than a year ago. When the team of three decorators finished the job, they crept away one by one to wash and change in a bathroom. They emerged, one by one - including a toothless fiftysomething man of Algerian origin - looking like a million euros.

My wife complimented them and pointed out that British or Irish decorators (she is Irish) would have gone straight down to the pub, dripping in sweat and paint. They looked at her, shocked, and chorused (including the toothless Algerian): "Ah, but madame, we are French!"

* * *

French farmers are always causing trouble. If they are not provoking fits of crusading priggishness among British prime ministers, they are parking their rusty tractors illegally in Paris and refusing to pay the fine.

Adrien Goichot, 66, a retired farmer from the hamlet of Pennesières, in Haute-Saône near the Swiss border, is a case in point. He refused to pay the fine sent though the post on the grounds that his tractor, "137 CD 70", had seldom left his village and had certainly not been to the 18th arrondissement of Paris (250 miles away).

After months of wrangling (by which time the fine had been increased to €375), something exceptional happened - something more exceptional than tractors in the streets of the capital. The police admitted that they had made a mistake. The illegally parked vehicle was "0137 CD 070", a diplomatic limousine belonging to the Angolan embassy. M. Goichot's fine has been cancelled. His wife, doubtless, still suspects that he has a girlfriend in Paris.

* * *

The other night we joined friends for a picnic in the Pré-Catalan, a beautiful garden within the Bois de Boulogne. Officially, you cannot stay in the garden after 7.45pm, even in June or July. An old man on a bicycle wearing a dusty uniform cycles around and whistles at you. He makes an exception, however, if members of your party are attending a play in the "Jardin Shakespeare", the beautiful open-air theatre within the garden.

We pushed my 11-year-old daughter, Clare, and her friend, Valentine, into a Molière play so that we could drink our rosé wine and eat our lamb in peace. After the meal, I strolled around to the back of the theatre, which is a natural bowl, surrounded by bushes. Two actors, a young man and a young woman, came off stage in 17th-century costume. Out of sight of the audience and other actors, and not seeing me, they launched into a passionate embrace.

Such things may happen in Shakespeare but never in Molière. Except back-stage, apparently. I crept away. All the world is a stage but there are limits to spectators' rights.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Manager - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Commercial Manager is required to join a lea...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£18000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first ...

Recruitment Genius: .NET Web / Software Developer - ASP.NET

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small and agile digital marketi...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders