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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Cabaret des Truands

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Up until 1950 Montmartre retained an aura of evil for provincials and foreign visitors, and did its best to satisfy them with a tawdry kind of satanism. The most famous of these places, in the Boulevard de Clichy, was called L’Enfer.

Philippe Jullian, Montmartre (1977)

L’Enfer is still the most famous of these vanished Parisian establishments thanks to photos by Eugène Atget and others of its hell-mouth entrance. Among the other novelty cabarets on the Boulevard de Clichy there was Le Ciel (Heaven) next door to L’Enfer, and the death-themed Cabaret du Néant (Cabaret of Nothingness, or Limbo as Jullian has it). The exterior of the latter was suitably funereal but otherwise mundane, although once inside you were in crypt-like surroundings.

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Another cabaret with a striking exterior that I hadn’t come across before was at no. 100 Boulevard de Clichy. The Cabaret des Truands (Cabaret of Truants) had a generally medieval interior with staff dressed like serving wenches and troubadours, but the exterior could almost be that of a fairground haunted house, replete with spider webs and plaster grotesques. Descriptions in English are unclear but the spiders seem to relate to a shared establishment, L’Araignée. It’s surprising to think of all these extravagant façades standing in a single (long) street in the heart of Paris, but then Montmartre in the late 19th century was the wild nighttown. Searching for photos of the Cabaret des Truands reveals an exterior changing by degrees with the passing years.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Infernal entrances

 


 

Posted in {architecture}, {cities}, {photography}.

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3 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Michelangelo

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    “Truand” is more “gangster” than “truant”.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Thanks, that makes more sense, as with Jullian’s Limbo versus the literal translation of Néant.

  3. #3 posted by herr doktor bimler

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    an exterior changing by degrees with the passing years.

    Animated GIF potential!

 


 

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