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Le Chabanais, Paris, France

Le Chabanais was one of the biggest and most famous brothels in Paris. It was founded by an Irish woman Madame Kelly. There is no much information about her life: however, it is well known, that she had good relations with members of Jockey-Club de Paris. Due to them she managed to sell brothel’s shares valued 1.7 million francs. Names of the investors (the clients at the same time) are naturally undisclosed. History however saved one famous name – Bertie, Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII of the UK. He was famous for his love for women. During 64 years of waiting for the throne Bertie got rid of all royal manners, and totally got involved in hedonistic parties. .

He had his own room in Le Chabanais decorated with all available luxury of that time. Among the interior decoration one can note a special chair. Owing to this chair, Bertie, who was really overweight, managed to have intercourses with two women simultaneously. Another significant “exhibit” of Bertie’s room was a large copper tub, in the shape of a women-faced swan. Bertie used to fill it with champagne and enjoy himself. After the brothel was closed down Salvador Dali bought the tub for 112 000 francs. .

History saved also another famous name – Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was really keen on this kind of places. Also, one could see him in Moulin Rouge. He painted 16 posters especially for Le Chabanais. Each lavishly decorated room here had its own style – Moorish, Hindu, Pompeii, Japanese or Louis XVI style. The brothel used to be included in the formal program of official visits to Paris. The official documents was registered the visit as “meeting with the President of the Senate”. .

In the mid-1920 another brothel was opened – One Two Two, which overtook Le Chabanais’ fame. And in 1946 according to the decision of French government all the “maison de tolerance” were closed down. There is an apartment house in the brothel building today, and only a small museum inside telling about the history of the famous bordello. .

By Sona Gasparian,


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