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Interview Henry PESSAR,
Meeting with John LENNON and Yoko ONO


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Henry Pessar at Marché Biron In the footsteps of John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Event of the 09 /10/ 2009

On the occasion of the 4th World of Antiquity, the Biron Market, located at the Saint-Ouen flea market,

presents an exhibition of 100 photographs of the legendary couple John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken by Henry Pessar during their visit to Paris in 1969.

The exceptional collection of 100 photos of Henry Pessar bears witness to one of the turning points in John Lennon's life. One of the photos taken by Henry Pessar was also published exclusively to Illustrate the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, delivered in private and incognito in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969!

The talent of Henry Pessar, celebrity photographer for Paris Match, makes this exhibition one of the artistic events of the fall! During the opening weekend of the exhibition, from October 9 to 11, the music of the Beatles and John Lennon will be broadcast throughout the Biron Market in order to engage the public in the universe of the most famous group in the world.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Friday, October 9, the opening day of the Mondial de l'Antiquité. The exhibition will run until Monday, October 25, 2009 and will be open to the public on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Entrance to the exhibition is free.

The Marché Biron, created in 1927, is considered today as one of the most prestigious art markets in France. It brings together 220 antique dealers and art dealers and owes its international fame to several generations of dealers who have built their reputation on the in-depth knowledge and quality of the works they offer: jewelry, lighting, furniture, silverware, paintings, graphic arts, photos, glassware ...

On October 9, 10 and 11, do not miss the Mondial de l'Antiquité and retrace the footsteps of John Lennon and Yoko Ono at the Marché Biron! 

The photographs of Henry Pessar at the Marché Biron

A sensational exhibition at the Marché Biron at the gates of Paris in Saint-Ouen

Henry Pessar photographer of stars around the world

Henry Pessar, journalist, writer, photographer for Paris Match in particular has met and photographed for more than 30 years of travelling around the world personalities that were sometimes inaccessible as different as the Beatles, the Rollïng Stones and Bob Dylan, the dictator Batista, Greta Garbo , Rose Kennedy, ex-emperor Bao Daï, Jacqueline Kennedy and Arïstotle Onassis, Barbara Hutton, Sofia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida ... and so many other characters.

A hunt, a perpetual quest, an unquenchable thirst for encounters, new friendships.

The passion to see, to know, to learn, to testify.

A sensational exhibition

The photographs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken by Henry Pessar in March 1969 are exhibited for the first time in Paris, in their original setting, at the Puces de Saïnt-Ouen. The photographs, testimony of a meandering of the mythical couple at the Flea Market, take on their historical character when we know that their visit to Paris was a stopover between their wedding in Gibraltar on March 20, 1969 and their honeymoon in Amsterdam.


Henry Pessar was arguably the closest person to John Lennon and Yoko Ono during this stopover in Paris!

The Marché Biron during the Mondial de l'Antiquité

The 4th Mondial de l'Antiquité, marked this year by the theme of Gastronomy, has attracted several hundred thousand visitors since its creation. The exhibition of photographs by Henry Pessar is one of the many events that will animate the Puces de Saint-Ouen and the Marché Biron on the weekend of October 9 to 11.

The Marché Biron was born in 1925 between avenue Michelet and rue des Rosiers. At the time, it was already a way, by offering well-chosen merchandise that was referenced in art history, to stand out from the two competing markets, Malik, which mainly sold clothes, and Vernaison, which was dedicated to second-hand objects.

A real itinerary through the ages of art history, the Marché Biron presents the various variations of these periods through its stands (currently 220): works of art and furniture from the 18th century, Parisian or provincial, furniture and splendors from the 19th century. , paintings, ceramics, the Far East, scientific objects, art-nouveau and art-deco, design, photos, the Marché Biron presents a wide range of art and welcomes all its visitors, professionals, amateurs and collectors.

Two days with John Lennon and Yoko Ono By Henry Pessar

"On March 19, 1969, I saw John Lennon again in Paris in the late morning. He had arrived in the night at the Plaza Athénée accompanied by his new companion, Yoko Ono. They left with me by cab to visit the Flea Market. Once in the Rue des Rosiers in Saint-Ouen, John asked me to show them this place he found "magical". That was the word he used.

I spent several hours playing the tour guide before having lunch with them in a modest Vietnamese restaurant. Towards the end of the afternoon, fascinated by everything they saw, the couple finally returned to their hotel. John asked me to follow them to their suite so that the next day at the Marché Malik I could exchange two or three used jeans that did not fit them.

Both come out at dinner time, dressed immaculately in white. Yoko was wearing a huge bell hat that partially concealed her face. They had dinner at the Coupole with the fashion designer Ted Lapïdus who came to pick them up by car. I left them alone, phoning my wife an hour later from a phone booth, too far away unfortunately, to happily inform her of the reunion. On my return, the couple had flown away... literally!

I only learned the next day the end of the story: John and Yoko had left for Gibraltar aboard a Mystery 20 chartered by their new manager, Peter Brown. They were married, early in the morning, incognito without drum nor trumpet' as Edgar Schneider titled it in his column in Paris-Presse put on sale at two o'clock in the afternoon. I had sold him the exclusive photo of the two lovebirds around seven o'clock in the morning. An illustrated scoop...!


Paris-Presse was thus the first newspaper in the world to announce the news, which had been passed on a little earlier by all the agencies around the world. They had spent only 70 minutes in Gibraltar...

At the beginning of the afternoon, I met them at the Hotel Meurice where, as soon as they returned, the young couple had come to greet Salvador Dali. I offered a rose to Yoko who kissed me and they returned to their palace in my car as white as their Rolls which arrived from London the next day, driven by their monumental chauffeur, Leslie. Once seated in my beautiful Ford Cortina, John said to me:

"Where were you last night? I looked for you because I would have liked you to go with us to Gibraltar to take pictures of our wedding. Tomorrow we are planning to go to Amsterdam for a happening. If you want, please guide us. Our driver, Leslie, won't know exactly how to get out of Paris.

He laughed and added:


- We will follow you to Holland. If you don't mind, of course!”


I couldn't believe my ears... Even though I had missed a world exclusive for an untimely phone call, I was going to make it up to you!

I had gone to change my jeans a little earlier. They washed them and then dried them in the wind on their balcony before going for a walk with me in the Champs Elysees district. Last pictures in Paris. Back to the Plaza Athénée.

Ultimate meeting with Dali and Gala in the early morning.

He drove them back to their hotel in his Cadillac before their departure for the Netherlands. As agreed, I served as the pilot fish for more than 400 kilometers, their guitar cluttering up my back seat. In Breda, as they wished, we had tea in a picturesque café. We arrived at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam in the middle of the night in an indescribable rush.

Around two o'clock the next day, press conference. Journalists from all over the world. Bed in1 The couple, in white pajamas, will receive the press in bed; everywhere there were white flowers, especially lilies. On the picture windows overlooking the city, on the sixth floor, posters BED, HAIR, LOVE, PEACE. They want thanks to this bed in that everyone speaks about the stupidity of the war... They want to be the clowns of the world... In the evening, I spend two hours alone with them. Yoko and John confide in each other amicably. An unforgettable duet. Hugs. I leave them. Nostalgia: didn't I dream?"

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