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But the Kiss Was Real March 30, 2014

Posted by Alex Sawit in Stuff in General.

By Alex Sawit

March 30, 2014



“I should have asked,” wrote our Cyrano friend last week about our shop poster of Robert Doisneau’s The Kiss, “if anybody ever took notice of this picture and made a connection between Cyrano de Bergerac and this picture of a kiss.”

For the record, no.

Prior to her asking, no one had ever stopped to draw that connection…haha, not even me, embarrassingly enough. I guess it’s time to explain the back story of this framed poster of ours, which has long been a popular feature on the shop’s wall.

I found it a long time ago, just one of many that were being sold at a Parisian store that I stumbled upon while walking about the city. I had already walked past other shops that were selling postcards of Doisneau’s famous photograph and had planned to get the largest of them on my walk back. But with this official poster in front of me (and knowing how ridiculous it would have cost to order it overseas in those days before online shopping), I bought it immediately and just carefully hand-carried it on the flight home.

Unfortunately, after I flew back home I realized there was absolutely no suitable location in the house to put up the poster. So I decided to just keep it in storage until I was able to find the right place to display it. Eventually I did in 2004 when I opened Cyrano Wine Shop.


The poster has sold over half a million copies since its release in 1986.


It’s been on display here for nearly ten years. And while it is only now that someone has connected this with Cyrano de Bergerac’s soliloquy about a kiss, what matters in the end is that The Kiss triumphantly expresses the romantic spirit that defines the heroes and heroines of our little wine shop.

What about the fact that this photograph – previously celebrated as a candid moment of 1950s life in Paris serendipitously captured on camera – is actually a staged shot? Doesn’t this make its spirit less meaningful?

I’ll leave it to Françoise Delbart (the young woman being kissed in the photo by her boyfriend at the time, Jacques Carteaud) to answer this best.


Françoise at the spot in 2005.


“The photo was posed,” said the now Mrs. Françoise Bornet, explaining herself with nostalgic fondness to the French media in 2005. “But the kiss was real.”





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