Waldemar Kamer
Waldemar Kamer
Bücher - Books - Livres - Libri - Boeken


Under the roofs of Paris / Prologue

Sous les toits de Paris - rencontres

I too have dreamt of Paris..

I could see the City of Light shining in my dreams, the metropolis where all the famous people live, where countesses wear diamond riviere necklaces and show girls wear banana skirts, where entire novels are written in the luxurious hotels of Place de la Concorde and in the small cafés of Montmartre. The city where unknown artists rise to the top and where Oscar Wilde died in poverty. To me, Paris represented that distant and unattainable place where happiness awaits you. I could see myself living in a romantic garret, with ivy and pigeons in front of the window. I could hear myself spending the whole night talking to bohemians who had a passion for art. I could even picture the hat of the chick I wanted to fall head over heels in love with. This is truly how I dreamt my life in Paris would be like – so it is hardly surprising that things happened in such a different way.

After a rather difficult start, I was free to explore the City of Light. In twenty years I got to know every one of its corners. A tramp has thrown himself at me in the metro and ripped off my shirt. In his music room, a prince has played the Moonlight Sonata for me. I have lived in posh areas as well as working-class ones. I have plunged myself in the glamorous Paris and the bohemian Paris. I have had to fight with this city, I have risen, I have fallen, and finally found my place as a student, an actor, a theatre company director and as an opera stage director. And during that whole time, I wrote. In my diary in the evening, as a journalist during the daytime, for daily and weekly papers, for art and theatre magazines. And now, I am writing a book about the people I met in Paris. For the time has come for me to bear witness to what I have seen and lived. It will be a colourful gallery where the rich will mingle with the poor and famous artists with people no one even took an interest in. They lived and still live in this most beautiful and sometimes most cruel city and fate wanted our paths to cross. Some encounters lasted merely ten minutes, others ten years. My wish is to deliver an honest and uncompromised testimony – just as I saw and lived it.


Under the roofs of Paris / Summary

Une chronique familiale


I           The garret

II          The students at La Sorbonne

III        Arletty and the young actors

IV        Malik and the others

V         Count Conrad

VI        The tramp in the metro

VII       The lady with the fur cloak

VIII      The boys under the roof

IX        In a theatre company

X         Marlene Dietrich

XI        The young journalist

XII       An interview with the minister

XIII      Vera Kouzmitchova

XIV     Rudolf Nureyev

XV      My “fifteen minutes”

XVI     Marie-Joséphine Durand

XVII    Letter from a stranger

XVIII   The bohemians

XIX     Aurian


List of people, Influences