Monday, May 12, 2014

Le Chabanais

In Paris, on 12 Rue Chabanais, close to Le Louvre, lies a very normal office building. What many people don't know though, is that this building once was Europe's most profitable maison close. or brothel, as it's called in English. It was called Le Chabanais, and was opened by Madame Kelly in 1878.

This luxurious house of erotic play was very lavishly decorated, with themed rooms such as Japanese, Moorish, Indian, Chinese etc. The Japanese Room even won the price for Best Design at the prestigious 1910 Paris World Fair!

And then there was the King's Room, that included a decadent, gilded royal bed and large mirrors placed both on the walls and the ceiling. This is where the future King of England, Edward VII, used to have some fun when he visited Le Chabanais.

Here the future King was known as Bertie though, and in "his" room, there was an ornate copper tub where he took champagne baths with the prostitutes, and a love seat, where he could enjoy two girls at the same time...

Other famous guests of Le Chabanais were Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - who painted 16 tableaux for the house - and the poet Guy de Maupassant, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and Marlene Dietrich. Sometimes the French government included a visit to Le Chabanais as part of the program for foreign guests of state. In the official program it was disguised as visit with the President of the Senate though...

During the WWII German occupation of France, twenty top brothels in Paris, including Le Chabanais, were reserved by the Wehrmacht for German officers and collaborating Frenchmen. During this time the brothels flourished, and even Hermann Göring visited Le Chabanais. In 1946 the legal brothels were closed by law. Their collaboration with the Germans was part of the reason...

1 comment:

  1. This place is super amazing, I would have liked to go in here and see it myself. The decoration of it looks quite opulent. The chair is very clever, haha!! Am sure there were quite a lot more famous people that visited this place and kept unknown...I would have liked to talk to the girls that worked in here, I bet they would have had a lot of great stories and experiences to share. Super love this. Happy Monday my sweet, I hope you had a marvellous weekend Xoxo


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