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Paris Commemorates Edith Piaf's Centenary With Exhibition

Director of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (BNF, the National Library of France), Bruno Racine, poses during the opening of the exhibition "Piaf," dedicated to France's legendary singer Edith Piaf, April 14, 2015, at the BNF in Paris.

An exhibition dedicated to French singer Edith Piaf, whose ballads of love and sorrow made her an international star, has opened in Paris to mark 100 years since her birth.

Hundreds of posters, letters, manuscripts, photographs, film clips and even her signature black dress are among the 400 items on display at the National Library of France.

"Piaf," which opened on Tuesday, retraces the singer's life, from her humble beginnings as the daughter of traveling performers to fame.

Each visitor is equipped with an audio device guiding them through themes such as "A woman of the people," "A voice," "A hymn to love" and "Piaf, the phenomenon and the legend."

"Visitors are immersed in Piaf's world, or worlds, as there are several," exhibition curator Joel Huthwohl told Reuters. "So we hope they are surprised from start to finish."

Known as "La Mome Piaf," or "little sparrow," Piaf became an idol of French culture in the 1940s and 50s with hits such as "La vie en rose" or "Hymne a l'amour" and "Non, je ne regretted rien."

She sang about love and the men in her life as well as her home city, Paris.

She died from cancer in 1963, at age 47.

"I really wanted to see this exhibition, which is very well done," said Michele Lillo, who used to live on the same street as Piaf. "It portrays her life exactly as it was."

The exhibition runs until Aug. 23.