Sex Life of La Belle Époque

Paris for Perverts is a vivid account of a modern-day search for remnants of Parisian bordellos of the La Belle Époque. Proust’s favorite gets a mention. Prostitution was banned after WWII, ending an era when at least a few prostitutes could “monetize their erotic assets,” a term I read recently, and rise in society. This article by Tony Perrottet gives a good sense of that.

I can personally attest that a least a few bordellos survived into the late sixties. My good friend, in an attempt to work out some sexual conflicts, dragged me into one such place in Pigalle. The walls were papered in a rich red velvet and a full length mirror was mounted in the ceiling over the bed. The room and bed were small and included an open sink which the ladies made us use beforehand. The four of us shared the little bed and the matter was soon concluded: my closeted friend could not perform and I was nearly as impotent due to the consumption of a large amount of vin rouge ordinaire. Soon after the ladies left the room we both fell sound asleep, lying on our backs with pants down. The next morning the cleaning lady walked into the room and woke us up with a loud scream. The manager rushed into the room and grabbed us both by our members and yanked us wide awake, harassing us all the way to the exit.


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