Juliette Gréco

Juliette Gréco
Background information
Born (1927-02-07) 7 February 1927
Montpellier, Hérault, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Genres Chanson
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1949–present

Juliette Gréco (French: [ʒyljɛt ɡʁeko]; born 7 February 1927) is a French actress and popular chanson singer.

Early life and family


Juliette Gréco was born in Montpellier to a Corsican father and a mother who became active in the Résistance, in the Hérault département of southern France. She was raised by her maternal grandparents. Gréco also became involved in the Résistance, and was caught by the Gestapo, along with her older sister, when she was only 16 years old.[1] She was released from Fresnes prison a few months later, and walked the 8 miles back to Paris.[2] She moved to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1946 after her mother left the country for Indochina.

Bohemian lifestyle

Gréco became a devotee of the bohemian fashion of some intellectuals of post-war France. Jean-Paul Sartre said of Gréco that she had "millions of poems in her voice".[3] She was known to many of the writers and artists working in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Boris Vian, thus gaining the nickname la Muse de l'existentialisme.[4]

Gréco spent the post liberation years frequenting the Saint Germain cafes, immersing herself in political and philosophical Bohemian culture. As a regular figure at music and poetry venues like Le Tabou on Rue Dauphine, Gréco met and had a relationship with Miles Davis in the early 50's, and was acquainted with Jean Cocteau, even being given a role in Cocteau’s film Orphée in 1949.[5] That same year, she began a new singing career with a number of well-known French writers writing lyrics; Raymond Queneau's "Si tu t’imagines" was one of her earliest songs to become popular.

Je Me Souviens De Tout

Juliette Gréco in 1966

In 2009 her latest album, Je Me Souviens De Tout, was released. To mark the occasion, Gréco, accompanied by her husband Gérard Jouannest on the piano and Jean-Louis Matinier on the accordion, gave four concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in early June.[6]

Fiction TV

In the late 1960s she featured in the TV serial Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre. This gloomy character was so strongly connected with Gréco, that it accompanied her for the rest of her life and, in 2001, she was included in the cast of the movie remake with the same title Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre.[7]

Personal life

She married three times: to actor Philippe Lemaire (1953–1956; one daughter, Laurence-Marie Lemaire, b. 1954), actor Michel Piccoli (1966–1977), and pianist Gérard Jouannest (since 1988).


Juliette Gréco, 2009

Gréco was portrayed by actress Anna Mouglalis in the film Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque) (2010).

The Canadian band Library Voices described Gréco's relationship with Miles Davis in their song "Be My Juliette Gréco, Paris 1949" from their album Summer of Lust.



Notable songs

Partial filmography



Anthony Beever and Artemis Cooper. Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949. London: Penguin, 1994. pp 315–320.


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