It’s 39 years since Jane Birkin fell in love with Serge Gainsbourg, 27 years since they split up, and 16 years since Gainsbourg died, but you’d never guess. Paris has never let its most iconic couple separate – you can, Birkin says, still not get through a day in this city without hearing the immortal intimacies of ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’ from somewhere – and anyway Birkin herself, at 60, has chosen to be living proof that love can survive divorce and death. She still spends most nights with Gainsbourg, singing his songs on an endless cabaret tour, breathing life into words he wrote with her, his muse, in mind. Birkin’s apartment, just off the Boulevard St Germain, decked in crimson silk, cast in permanent twilight, crammed with old photographs and a collection of stuffed animals, is made for this perpetual seance. She shares it with a corpulent bulldog, Dora, who lounges on a chaise.
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