Le Vin des rues  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Le Vin des rues (1955; English: Wine of the streets) is a book by Robert Giraud with photos by Robert Doisneau.

From the liberation until the mid-1950s Robert Giraud lived a meager material existence but this proved to be a very rewarding time for his work. He visited and befriended many homeless people (or clochards as referred to in French), pimps, prostitutes and eccentric former convicts who inhabited various unknown areas of Paris near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Place Maubert, the rue Mouffetard or Halles. He brought his friend Robert Doisneau to explore this underworld which led to a beautiful series of portraits of unusual Parisian characters. Giraud immersed himself in the culture of the clochards and was fascinated by everything from the unusual tattoos to unique slang. He famously described them as follows:

"The clochard does not work work, he carries out obligations. Everyone has his fiddle, or his "defense" (his way to fend for himself) that he will not give up to anyone else, and he jealously guards the secret. The clochard gets by during the night and often sleeps during the day wherever he is taken by fatigue, on a bench, a ventilation grille, even on the pavement or on the paths along the Seine" --Le Royaume d'Argot p260

The book won the prix Rabelais and established Giraud as the preeminent chronicler and lucid witness of destitute Parisians. This legendary book is an unparalleled work of poetic reportage capturing an unusual and exciting Paris that has disappeared today.

His unique knowledge of this underworld gave him the opportunity to work with the young director Alain Jessua on his first film Léon la lune (1956) and with the photographer Irving Penn for a series of photos published in Vogue.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Le Vin des rues" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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