In his account of Laborde's last years, Mac Orlan describes how:
Un jour, au matin, en compagnie de Zyg Brunner il avait entendu les fifres et tambours plats dans une avenue qui accède à l'Arc de Triomphe. Les deux hommes bouleversés étaient rentrés à pied chez eux à Montmartre. Ils ne parlèrent jamais de ce qu'ils avaient vu.
One morning, with Zyg Brunner he heard fifes and drums coming from an avenue leading to the Arc de Triomphe. Overwhelmed, the two men walked back to their homes in Montmartre. They never spoke about what they had seen.
On his return to the Butte, Laborde and a few friends at Au Rêve, like Brunner, Marcel Aymé and Ralph Soupault, tried in vain to come to terms with the ‘débâcle’. Instead, he ‘let his beard grow, a beard of almost religious renunciation, shortly before dying of grief’. It was a typical, if extreme, reaction to the German Occupation of Paris, in which, of course, the enemy's presence was not confined to march-pasts on the grand avenues of the centre, but extended to all corners of the capital, not least its pre-eminent pleasure centre.
Obviously, like during the First World War, Montmartre was subject to general conditions which applied to the capital as a whole, notably stringent rationing and limitation of movement, particularly through the curfew. Robert Aron notes that from September 1940 the German ration for French adults amounted to only 1,800 calories, despite the Germans’ own calculations that 3,000–3,500 constituted the bare minimum for a man leading a sedentary existence, 4,000–4,500 for an active worker and 1,700 was ‘a slow famine regime leading to death’. This was compounded by fuel shortages: ‘in the winter of 1940–1, one of the harshest that France had known for a long time, fuel rations were hardly adequate to allow a family to heat one room poorly and intermittently for a few weeks: eleven degrees was considered a luxury’. The situation deteriorated badly after the Occupation of the Southern Zone in November 1942.