Chopin reached Paris via Germany in September 1831. It was supposed to be a short visit – a stopover on the way to London. The composer was barely 21 years old, but he had quite a lot of money at his disposal and plenty of opportunities to multiply what he had (he could earn as much as 500 francs per week offering private tutorials in music, which became very fashionable at the time). Chopin was perfectly groomed as well.

Chopin’s first concert took place in the winter of 1832 at the Pleyel’s salon. At the time, Pleyel was one of the most recognizable makes of grand pianos. He played, among others, Variations in B Flat Major Op. 2 on ‘La ci darem la mano.’ Here is how the composer Antoni Orłowski assessed his colleague’s performance: “He killed all the local piano players to death, Paris has gone crazy.”


George Sand appeared in Chopin’s life in 1836, at their mutual acquaintance’s salon. The composer spotted her – in a letter to his parents he recalled that her face seemed to him unpleasant and her personality – repellent.

Ms Sand fell head over heels for Chopin practically from the start. She used to invite him over and also visited him, together with her other friends. Eventually, they became an item – a rather peculiar one at that. George Sand had already published about twenty novels; she regularly wore trousers and smoked cigars.

They were together for over ten years – the years dotted with Chopin’s numerous health crises.



Chopin met Eugène Delacroix at George Sand’s place. The painter and the writer had been friends forever. Delacroix was considered a member of the Sand family and was invited for holidays to Nohant.

The relationship between the artists has been noted in Delacroix’s diary. Polish composer is referred to as “kind and nice,” and as “dear little” Chopin.

Friendship of the two artists resulted also in a number of very stirring portraits of the composer.


If one could take a peek – through a window or a keyhole – into all the Parisian apartments and dens of Frédéric Chopin, the work of many generations of the composer’s biographers might turn out completely useless. Chopin’s subsequent lodgings tell the tale of his life in the French capital.

As a new arrival, Chopin began at a hotel room at Cité Bergère, today part of the IX Arrondissement. He stayed there for a maximum of two months – already on 18 November 1831 he bragged in a letter to a friend about his view “from Montmartre to the Pantheon, and along the river [onto] the entire beautiful world.” The entire beautiful world could be appreciated only from a height – first Parisian “beautifully furnished” place was located at 27 Boulevard Poissonière on the fifth floor, which made it considerably cheaper.



The Parisian biography of Chopin – a virtuoso and bon vivant – does not fit the model story of a Polish post-November Uprising emigrant.

Chopin, whose unique talent turned him into the citizen of the world and who socialized with a cosmopolitan artistic milieu, remained in regular contact with the emigre circles. He was an associated member of the (Historical) Literary Society and one of the co-founders of the Polish Technological Schools Society. He often gave concerts in aid of the Society and got engaged in the fundraising process.

Chopin was a regular guests at Hôtel Lambert. Undoubtedly, there were times when Chopin played while people danced. The composer also had an exceptional talent to impersonate people – apparently he was excellent in mimicking not merely behaviour, but also the manner of speaking of others.


Chopin was dying for a long time – long enough to allow hundreds of people come visit. They all wanted to see the composer for the last time.

He could barely breathe but as long as he could speak he would give instructions regarding his unfinished pieces („burn”) and musical accompaniment at the funeral („play Mozart’s Requiem”).

He had apparently jotted down on a piece of paper the wish for his heart to be removed after his passing. It has been widely accepted and repeated that Chopin sent his heart to his homeland because – as Norwid put it in his obituary – he was a Pole at heart. Besides, Chopin – suffering from various psychological problems all his life – had a phobia of being buried alive.