Fifty years later, the circumstances of the death of the Doors singer in the Marais remain controversial. Officially, Jim Morrison died of a heart attack in the bathtub of the apartment where he lived with his girlfriend Pam Courson, at 17 rue Beautreillis (4th) on the night [of July 2 to] 3, 1971, that's exactly a half century. The police having noted the death, they concluded that it was a heart attack without carrying out an autopsy.

In reality, “the Lizard King” (one of his nicknames) died of an overdose in the toilets of a Parisian club, the Rock'n'Roll Circus, a bar on Boulevard Saint-Germain which no longer exists today. The heroin would have been supplied to him by Jean de Breteuil, boyfriend of singer Marianne Faithfull – also present in Paris on the evening of the tragedy – and rock dealer at the time. Breteuil then worked with an accomplice linked to the “French connection”.

Rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris
Building where Jim Morrison resided, 17, rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris

Having found the co-founder of the Doors inanimate, the dealers allegedly transported him to his home on rue Beautreillis. There, they allegedly placed him in the bathtub before telling Pam Courson what to do: call the police and say that she found him like that when she woke up. This is the credible version of Marianne Faithfull, the only survivor of the period, who told it to the British magazine Mojo in 2014.

A native of California, the author of LA Woman and Light My Fire ended his brief life in the Marais at the age of 27, then was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery, where his grave is the most visited.

Grave of Jim Morrison at Père Lachaise cemetery

On the building on rue Beautreillis, no plaque celebrates his memory. On the facade, an anonymous person simply stuck an A4 sheet on which we can read: “Jim Morrison did not die here”. This is the only indication that allows the passerby to know that the Marais was the last address of the interpreter of “People Are Strange”.

A4 sheet with the writing “Jim Morrison did not die here”, stuck on the facade of 17, rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris

Text: Axel G.

30.06.21

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