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By Kelby Carr. Place Pigalle has always been synonymous with sex, in all its more tawdry forms. It used to be the epicenter of sex shops, peep shows, strip clubs, and cabaret and adults-only, X-rated adventures and was part of the red light district of Paris , France. Many of the shop windows are still full of models wearing next to nothing, scanty garments that can be super expensive or cheap as chips but which send out the same message - I am available for sex. In the late 19 th century, cabarets opened on Boulevard de Clichy, among them the Moulin Rouge , either famous or infamous, according to your taste.
Pigalle got seedier in the early 20 th century and it was not somewhere to visit unless you knew exactly what you were doing and where you were going - and had a certain reckless streak to you. There are some surprising people who did know where they were going; apparently, the British Prince of Wales, known for his sexual appetite, Charlie Chaplin, and Cary Grant were all customers. Inevitable, criminal elements moved in; rime moved in; drug gangs operated here; brothels did a roaring trade.
In the s, the sex shops appeared with their lurid, enticing images and their promise of sex, however and whenever you wanted it. Pigalle is changing fast and it's becoming chic and trendy, albeit with a still gritty edge and you still get the sordid and the quirky in the mix.
The rather odd, but distinctly different Museum of Eroticism, originally at 72 Boulevard de Clichy closed its doors in November But it did have a spectacular sale of the likes of a topless Mona Lisa and a 'forest of phalluses', all of which made a tidy half a million euros. It's not for the faint-hearted; every piece of art has some nudity in it and some of the rooms are pretty sultry.
It's at 8 Rue de Navarin. New places are springing up all the time. One to note is Buvette, the French sister of the Manhattan French restaurant. But the old advice still holds true: be careful here though it's a pale imitation of its former raunchy self. Edited by Mary Anne Evans. Share Pin Email. You can get tickets separately or join a tour which takes in dinner and cabaret.