Maybe you heard about the famed Paris red light district in Pigalle? Because of its reputation, this neighborhood is not precisely as advertised as others. But the Pigalle region is more than just its adult cinemas and sex shops! So we have developed a guide to all you should understand before you visit the red light district of Paris! If you want to have a trip back to La Belle Epoque, hunting in Paris’ vintage flea market is not the only option, head to Pigalle for some best shows in Paris and drown yourself into the dream of La Belle Epoque!
Read on and explore the most secret district of Paris and why it is called the red light district of Paris. We have historical facts, tips for preparing and best suggestions!
Prepare your visit to Paris Red Light District
Paris Red Light District Location
The Paris red light district extends north of Paris along Boulevard de Clichy. The red light district is right on the edge of the 9th (French “arrondissement”) and 18th area. Just Montmartre’s South. Starting on the renowned square of Pigalle, it runs all the way to Place de Clichy. Most adult cinemas, cabarets, and sex stores can be discovered in the perpendicular streets along the road.
Paris Red Light District Safety
The Paris red light district is much safer than in the previous 10 years, the region has altered a lot. Going out on the weekend is now one of the most trendy places in Paris. And cool and trendy cocktail bars took over most of the filthy bars.
You should always keep an eye on your private possessions, as everywhere in Paris, and prevent going to bad-looking hostess bars and adult cabarets where you can readily get scammed.
Exploring the red light district of Paris is entirely okay for a solo traveler (female or not).
History of Paris Red Light District
La Belle Epoque –the golden age –was one of the most influential and interesting periods in the history of the red light district in Paris. Arts flourished during the French Third Republic, and Paris became the capital of sex worldwide, known as the city of enjoyment.
In the walls of Palais Royal in the center of Paris in 1787, Napoleon himself lost his virginity to a prostitute. By 1812, there were about 900 prostitutes registered in Paris. The amount was 3,500 in 1832. From the 1850s, Paris was estimated to have told everything to 34,000 prostitutes. At the moment, London’s number of prostitutes was estimated at 24,000, although London had twice Paris ‘ population.
The red-light district of Paris is in Pigalle. Originally an artist’s area, there is a list of former famous residents like Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Maurice Neumont, Andre Breton.
When exploring the region, you had to be cautious as it was never known for its secure atmosphere. A famous riot took place in the area when her girlfriend Mathilde de Morny kissed Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette staring at Moulin Rouge in Rêve d’Égypte in 1907. Causing an angry mob to attack the stage and actors which then spilled onto the street.
Today there is a revival of the region, its offbeat tempo attracts trendy fresh bars, romantic restaurants and quirky love hotels. All playing in deep history fields and keeping its gritty edge.
Top Ways to Explore the Paris Red Light District
GUIDED TOUR OF PARIS BROTHELS, BOUDOIRS, AND COURTESANS
With cameos of important historical characters such as Napoleon, Chopin, King Edward VII (spoiler alert – AKA Dirty Bertie), Colette “willy” and Josephine Baker. Comparable to the 19th century version of 50 Shades of Grey – hear the secret stories that shaped Paris and influenced historical celebrities.
The walking tour requires you throughout the town to visit the landmarks of Paris ‘ sexual history, including evident names like Moulin Rouge, Le Folies bergère, and Le Chabanais, the home of the notorious “loveseat” of King Edward.
The list involves surprises along the manner, the world’s first condom store, a less-known side of Palais Royal as well as the dark history of Paris Opera House, renowned Love Hotels, and notorious painters and poets brothels. A place with lots of romantic restaurants or cool bars to visit when you’re finished in the Montmartre region!
As a solo traveler or group, it’s a side of Parisian history that’s not often told for tourists looking to discover the town, and rarely with such a knowledgeable guide! It really shows how Paris ‘ reputation has developed from the “town of enjoyment” to what we now know as the “town of love.”
PARIS RED LIGHT DISTRICTS ATTRACTIONS
CHEZ MICHOU – Paris RED LIGHT DISTRICT CABARET
Chez Michou cabaret is another red light neighborhood organization in Paris. Every evening, this tiny, intimate cabaret is complete. Their burlesque transformist signature display blends funny singing and dancing.
If you’re going to help something distinctive and sing loud to global hits, that’s the place to go!
| Address: 80 rue des Martyrs, 75018 Paris
| Opening hours: 8:15 pm for the dinner-show, the show starts at 10:30 pm; open daily
| Price range: €45 for the show without drinks, €145 for the dinner and show.
| More info
COOLEST BARS in PARIS RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Top #1 LULU WHITE
Lulu White is a speakeasy cocktail bar serving delicious liquor beverages in a former hostess bar on Pigalle’s Rue Frochot. The primary road for the girl’s bar in Paris was Rue Frochot. It’s altered a lot over the previous 10 years and having a drink on the weekend is now one of the trendiest streets.
| Address: 12 Rue Frochot, Paris 75009
| Opening hours: 7pm – 2am / Wed – Mon
| Price range: 12€ for a cocktail
| More info
Top #2 LE CARMEN
Le Carmen is an exquisite cocktail bar and club set within a typical 19th-century building “hotel particulier.” The French Opera composer Georges Bizet lived them, and it is said that he created the opera Carmen when he was living there.
It feels like being in a private Parisian apartment with enormous velvet furniture and paintings and carvings in the rococo style. Gin-based cocktails are the signature drinks. Their choice of Gin is one of the most beautiful in Paris.
| Address: 34 rue Duperré, Paris 75009
| Opening hours: 6pm – 4am / Tues – Sat
| Price range: 16€ for a cocktail
| More info
Best stays in PARIS RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Top #1 HOTEL AMOUR
Hotel Amour is a lovely boutique in the fancy region of South Pigalle-SoPi. Each space has a distinct theme and it’s all about love. One of the coolest locations to live and hang out in the red light district of Paris is for sure.
The restaurant with its private patio is the favorite Sunday brunch place for local Parisians.
| BOOK A ROOM
| Services: Wifi / Elevator
| Address: 8 rue Navarin, Paris 75009
| Price range: 175€ for a standard room
Two red lights above the front door are a clue to the public that another world is waiting through Maison Souquet’s gates. You are transported from the moment you walk through the door into a time capsule of the Paris era of La Belle Epoque. Red velvet, with intimate booths and plush seats, includes the room.
The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate, all devoted to renowned courtesans with incredible cocktails.
| BOOK NOW
| Services: Wifi / Elevator / Swimming pool / Spa / Airport shuttle
| Address: 10 rue de Bruxelles, Paris 75009
| Price range: 340€ for a deluxe suite
Best restaurants in PARIS RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Top # 1 BUVETTE GASTROTHÈQUE
One of our favourite restaurants in the red light district of Paris is Buvette Gastrothèque. Located in a lively road complete of excellent restaurants and bars in SoPi-South Pigalle.
Get prepared for delicious French classics like steak tartare, onion soup. The portions are very tiny, so we suggest ordering and sharing a few distinct meals. They have a excellent range of wines and the employees are very friendly! Their brunch on Sunday is also genuinely amazing. The restaurant does not book, we suggest getting there early-before 8 pm.
| Address: 28 rue Henri Monnier, Paris 75009
| Opening hours: 10am – 12am / Mon – Sun
| Price range: 12€/15€ per dish
| More info