Familiar figures in the streets of 19th century Paris,
grisettes were the youthful, fresh‑faced girls
who worked in the capital’s sewing workshops.
They were full of joie de vivre and wore grey calico frocks
that gave them their nickname.
On sunny days, when the workshop bell rang,
they would rush off in pursuit of adventure in the bars of Montmartre
and the guinguettes on the Marne, where they would dance to the strains of the accordion.
These fun-loving creatures paired up with the bohemian students in the Latin Quarter,
and provided the inspiration for the artists at Montmartre,
becoming the heroines of paintings by Renoir and Manet.