Why did Jim Morrison go to Paris?
Start by listening to this thorough podcast retracing Milestones from the last year of Jim‘s life by DJ Bennett (killradio.org).
Photo from the last Doors concert in New Orleans, December 1970.
Rolling Stone journalist, Ben Fong-Torres, interviewed Jim Morrison for Rolling Stone magazine in February 1971 at Diane Gardiner’s apartment in Los Angeles. Jim’s longtime girlfriend, Pamela Courson, also joins the conversation. This would turn out to be Jim’s final interview.
When did Jim go to Paris?
Jim traveled to France in the summer of 1970. It was during this trip that you can see video footage of Jim visiting the movie set of Jacques Demy’s Peau d’âne. Jim returned the following year in March 1971 to join his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. He died unexpectedly on July 3.
Morrison’s letters from Paris
Dear Franck + KathyRR Auction
Sorry not to have written sooner. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here this long. We’ve been travelling in Spain, (Granada was best) Morocco, southern France + Corsica where I lost my jacket, money etc. + had to fly back to Paris to wait for more. If Sicily is anything like Corsica you’ll probably love it. We’ll be back in Paris around June 7 thru Sept. There’s an extra room so please stay w/us.
How is everything?
Say hello to everyone + try to get over here.
Postcard to Doors lawyer, Max Fink:
Dear Max—it’s a beautiful spring in the ‘city of love’. Just returned from Spain, Morocco + Corsica — Napolean’s birthplace. Take a vacation! The women are great + the food is gorgeous. Say hi to all. JimJim Morrison to Doors lawyer, Max Fink, 1971
How are you? The weather today finally turned sunny after a month of grey. Paris is beautiful in the sun, an exciting town built for human beings.
Speaking to Bill a while back, I told him of our desire to stay on here indefinitely. Will that be possible? Could you write & give me an idea of how long we can stay on living at our present rate. A sort of financial statement in general. Also, a copy of the partnership agreement if it was ever completed.
We’ve decided to turn the shop over to Tom & Judy so they can seek a loan—all but the furnishings & some personal things which we’ll keep. Eventually, we’d like to be completely clear of any involvement. Could you help figure out the best way to do this?
Incidentally, would you ask Judy for her parents address & send them $100.00 for the dog.
Any luck on the credit cards? We could use them, made out in both our names. What’s the problem?
And if you’d send our check when you receive this… house bills are catching up. Please send $3,000.00.
Give our best to all. Later. JimJim Morrison to his accountant, Bob Greene
When did Jim die?
July 3, 1971. Born on December 8, 1943, Jim was 27 years old at the time of his death. Thus joining Hendrix, Joplin, Cobain, et al. in the 27 Club.
How did Jim die?
The information provided here presents a brief introduction into the mystery surrounding Jim Morrison’s death.
The coroner’s report indicates the cause of death as heart failure (natural death), “arrêt cardiaque (mort naturelle)”. The address on the death certificate is 17 rue Beautreillis where Jim was renting an apartment with Pamela Courson. Read Pamela’s official statement (in French) given to French authorities.
No autopsy was performed, therefore fueling speculation about how Jim really died to this day.
- According to Sam Bernett, manager of the of Rock’n’Roll Circus, Jim Morrison died from a massive heroin overdose in the toilet of the aforementioned nightclub (Daily Mail, 2007).
- Marianne Faithfull revealed recently in an interview that Jean de Breteuil, a friend of Jim and Pamela’s, admitted to her that he “provided the gear.” (Classic Rock Magazine, March 2011)
The story goes back to the summer of 1971, when she travelled to Paris with her then-boyfriend, heroin dealer to the stars Jean de Breiteuil. Upon their arrival Breiteuil told Faithfull that he had to pay a visit to The Doors’ singer’s apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis. She says she felt a strange sense of foreboding and stayed behind at the couple’s hotel, knocking herself out with downers.
“I could intuitively feel trouble,” she recalls. “I thought, I’ll take a few Tuinal and I won’t be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him. I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor bastard. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn’t know anything about this. Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me.”Marianne Faithfull Tells MOJO: “I Know Who Killed Jim Morrison”, Fearless chanteuse reveals all on the eve of her new album and 50th Anniversary World Tour (Mojo magazine, August 2014)
- Can You Find Me Soft Asylum: A definitive reference guide to Jim Morrison’s final days (Jerome L. Wallerstein, 2004)
Before the morning of July 3, 1971, Alain Raisson, a French fireman, had never heard of the American singer and poet Jim Morrison. As Raisson describes it today, his encounter with the man that he found unconscious in a bathtub full of lukewarm water was “short, intense and very real.” Raisson and his team of five firemen tried to revive him, but failed, and within minutes of arriving at the light-filled apartment on 17 rue Beautreillis in the Marais district of Paris, it was Raisson who pronounced “Mr. James Morrison” dead.— Lizard King: R.I.P. (Maclean’s)
What happened the night Jim died?
After a call from Pam declaring “Jim’s unconscious and bleeding. Call an ambulance. You know I don’t speak French. Hurry up. I think he’s dying.”, Alain Ronay, Jim’s photographer friend, arrived at 17 rue Beautreillis accompanied by Agnès Varda. He recounts in Jim and I—Friends Until Death
Where is Jim buried?
Jim is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery, Division 6.
When was Jim buried?
Jim was buried on July 7. Five people attended the burial: Pamela Courson, Doors manager Bill Siddons, Jim’s friends, Agnès Varda and Alain Ronay, and Jim’s secretary, Robin Wertle.
Sadly when Bill [Siddons] returned from Paris he told me that the entire situation was a mess. I had been told that in Paris the coroner didn’t pick up dead bodies during the weekends. Pam had to maintain a deathwatch over Jim, alone in their apartment, that entire weekend. My heart breaks for her when I recall this story. Pam was to eventually return from Paris but she was forever changed.— The Making of Jim Morrison’s “An American Prayer” by John Haeny
Who inherited Jim’s estate?
Jim Morrison designated Pamela S. Courson as his inheritor in his Will and Testament, dated 12 February, 1969.
Will Jim’s remains be exhumed?
No. Not convinced? Keep reading.
- French authorities first tried to exhume the singer’s body and have his tomb removed to another site, but discovered it has been leased in perpetuity. (The Telegraph, 2008)
- NPR’s Scott Simon takes note of recent comments by the man who runs the cemetery in Paris where the late rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors is buried. The caretaker wants the tomb moved because of the many troublesome fans who come to pay their respects. (NPR, 2004)
- “It is totally unfounded,” said Henri Beaulieu, assistant director with Paris’ Central Cemetery Service, quoted by the Associated Press. “Jim Morrison isn’t moving.” About 1.5 million people visit the cemetery every year to see the famous graves. (CNN, 2001)
Did Jim record any music in Paris?
Contrary to popular and long-standing belief, no.
“But at least now that Michael McClure has positively been identified as one of the performers, it may help bring back some memories and lead to some new information. What is no longer a mystery is just where, and likely when, this recording was made. And while we can say that what has come to be know as ‘the Paris session tape’ is one of Jim Morrison’s oddest studio recordings, it most certainly was not his last.”— Len Sousa, The Truth Behind The Lost Paris Tapes
So don’t believe the hype!
What happened to Jim’s girlfriend, Pamela Courson?
Pam returned to Los Angeles after Jim’s death. She died 3 years later of a heroin overdose on April 25, 1974. She was also 27 years old at the time of her death.
She is buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana, California.
Where can I find more information on the Doors?
- The Doors official website
- The Doors’ discography at Discogs
- An extensive catalog of Jim Morrison & The Doors’ music with a discography of albums, books, videos, and magazines at doorsinfo.com
- When You’re Strange (2010) Documentary film by Tom DiCillo
- Feast of Friends (1970) Documentary film by Paul Ferrara, Frank Lisciandro and Babe Hill
- No One Here Gets Out Alive (1980) Biography by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman