Destinations Magazine

Parisian of the Month: Caroline Nin

By Eyepreferparis88 @eyepreferparis

Dec 2014 Essaion Piaf

I am pleased to have the very talented chanteuse and performer Caroline Nin as the Parisian of the Month.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in the North of France and grew up in Roubaix.
When and why did you move to Paris?
Roubaix was way too small for my imagination. I once made a trip to Paris without my parents knowing, I was 19 years old, to audition for a drama school. I got in that day so went back home, called friends of friends to find accommodation in Paris, found a maid’s room in Neuilly that measured 75 square feet with no heating or bathroom and moved in 6 months later to live in Paris for good!
At what age did you start to like music and when did you start singing?
I remember always singing along with radio music from a very young age. Radio would always play at home or my father would play vinyls, I would sing along, I always loved music. My singing career though, started at the age of 24.
You used to live in London and worked as a model. How and why did you transition from modeling to singing and what year did you make the change?
I became a model as soon as I arrived in Paris then in London for various shows or ads. One day I was scouted by a Vidal Sassoon hair stylist, she has been a friend since. One evening, she dragged the International Vidal Sassoon Artistic Director (he was no.  3 in the company) to one of my Cabaret shows in Soho. That night, he offered me to be the singing model on all the Vidal Sassoon Fashion/Hair shows around the world. So, to answer your question, there was not really a transition as I did model and sing at the same time.

I stopped modeling once my singing career took over in 1999.
You have a big following in Australia and perform there regularly. How did that come about?
I was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2000 when a producer booked me for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2002 and 2003. In Adelaide I was spotted by a producer from the Sydney Opera House and was booked to perform “Hymne A Piaf” in 2007 for the launch of the movie “La Vie en Rose” with Marion Cotillard. Ever since, Australia (and New Zealand) have asked me back every year !
You have performed your Piaf show all over the world in many venues. When did your love and fascination of Piaf start and what is about her that resonated with you so strongly?
Actually I wasn’t a Piaf fan at all in the beginning.

I started singing some of her songs in Soho, London in the late 90’s when performing in clubs after audiences requested me to sing “La Vie en Rose” or “No Regrets”. At first I refused but then, they would flash £20 notes a me (!!!!) So I did !

Edith Piaf is in our DNA in France you know. I grew up hearing her on the radio a lot. Her voice scared when I was little. So coming back to the night where I started singing Piaf in Soho for money (!!), I then decided to sing other songs of hers than the obvious ones, little by little I discovered that she had an extraordinary repertoire with a lot of story telling songs which is what I love the most.

What are some facts about Piaf most people don’t know?
Piaf lived 12 years in and out the US from the mid-40’s.
She invented World Music in France in the 50’s with the song “La Foule”, a Peruvian traditional song she transformed to the magnificent song we all know.
She is the first to have sung a “Rock’n’Roll” song : “L’Homme à la Moto” written by some of Elvis Presley’s songwriters in the 50’s.
Her aim in life was to always be in love in order to sing the love song she sung. Thus explains that she would fall in love often and dispose of her lovers often!
Please tell us about the new Piaf exhibition at the BNF in Paris.  
I have already been twice there. It’s a fantastic exhibition with never seen documents, footage. Very well researched it tells a lot more than what we know of Edith Piaf.
There is also a “plus” : a karaoke room where everyone can sing one (or two, or three) of her 5 most famous songs, record and email them to anyone they want including themselves. This is a GREAT idea!
You sometimes sing at the glamorous Lido Club. What’s that experience like?
Thrilling ! A 1200 person audience every night with a 6 piece band orchestra. A real treat. The Lido is a venue which has so much history, so many iconic artists have performed there, including Piaf, but also Marlene Dietrich, Liza Minnelli, Charles Aznavour, Noel Coward, even Elvis …..
Who are the singers that influenced you growing up and who are your favorite singers today?
I was influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Marlene Dietrich, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Etta James (but many more …..), at the moment I am  listening to Shirley Horn a lot but also Velvet Underground and more precisely Lou Reed, Kool and the Gang (when Paris is grey, it makes me really happy), Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Barbara (French fabulous singer/pianist), Pergolesi and Hildegarde Van Bingen.
If you could perform at any venue in the world, where would it be and what would you sing? Also, who would you invite to be in the audience?
It would be Carnegie Hall. I would sing the Jazz Album I am currently working on to be released in the fall of 2016 and I would invite in the audience : My parents, David Lynch, Leonard Cohen, Jane Goodall, Catherine Deneuve,  Meryl Streep, Jean Paul Gaultier, Cassandra Wilson, Diane Reeve + many, many more : Yves Saint Laurent, Marlene Dietrich, Billie Holiday, Otto Dix, Bob Fosse, Gertrude Stein, Tamara de Lempicka, Klaus Nomi, Monet, Anais Nin, Jack Kerouac, Jacques Doisneau …….
What do you prefer about Paris?
That it is so small you can cycle everywhere and enjoy its beauty at a very low pace. This applies to walking too.

That anywhere you are you will find something picturesque and full of history. That there is an exhibition or art at every corner. That the Parisians are so rude and love to say NO so that French tradition lives on!

PIAF Visuel Net

Caroline will be performing Hymne a Piaf on Thursdays (in French), Fridays, and Saturdays (in English) at 7:30PM from April 30 to August 1. When you purchase tickets for the Piaf exhibition at BnF, you will receive discount for  the show when you present the exhibition ticket at the box office: It's 20€ a ticket instead of 25€/30€.
Click here for more info

New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.


Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more.  In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.

Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.

 Check it out at 

Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour

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