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The Revamped Kingdom of Parisian Pleasures

Situated in the north of the city at the edge of bohemian Montmartre, Pigalle flourished as the city’s nightlife hotspot during the late 19th-century Belle Epoque; the “beautiful era” of supreme extravagance and joie de vivre lived out at places scandalized at the time for their “shameless indecency.” On a given night at the Moulin Rouge, Le Chat Noir, the Cabaret of the Incoherents or the Café of the Decadents, aristocrats rubbed shoulders with artists, courtesans, musicians, dancers and the whole gamut of outcasts. Pigalle became the capital of all its forms. The area’s narrow side streets began to fill with maisons closes (legal brothels).

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