It may be best-known today as the city of love and romance, but Paris has long been the capital of all types of pleasure and entertainment. From its famed cabarets to its “caf-conc'” (café-concerts) and its bars, the city has long had a taste for the risqué. This irreverent streak lives on today – with plenty of panache and a good dose of humour!
Spice up your stay with an evening of naughty songs in a bawdy atmosphere by taking in one of these 3 offbeat shows.
Expect saucy songs, cheeky double-entendres and teasing humour! At Café Polisson, you’ll be transported back in time to a Parisian café-concert from the Belle Époque. The show was originally created to be performed in the auditorium of the Musée d’Orsay for the exhibition “Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850-1910”.
Enter the venue and you’ll immediately be struck by the décor: wall hangings, lanterns and bistro chairs plunge you into an atmosphere where pleasure reigns supreme and teasing girls sing songs to lure you in.
On stage, Nathalie Joly, dressed in red velvet and white silk, sings the greatest hits of Yvette Guilbert, a legend from Montmartre’s golden age. She is accompanied by a piano, a bandoneon and a dancer who embodies ambiguity and androgyny. Sometimes cruel and sometimes funny, the songs pay tribute to courtesans and ladies of the night in an uncompromising portrait of the Second Empire.
Café Polisson at the Théâtre de l’Epée de Bois
French Collection – Madame Arthur sings French music
With French Collection, you’re in for a memorable musical evening featuring the transvestite troupe Madame Arthur.
From Thursday to Saturday, Monsieur K, Patachtouille, Morian and Charly Voodoo revisit the greatest hits of French chanson. Perched on extremely high heels, corseted, and adorned with the most exquisite feathers, these eccentric performers will have you singing and dancing until the end of the night. From easy listening to the hits of the 80s, the troupe showcases a repertoire of popular French songs with a good deal of humour.
The venue is complete with gold decorations, fringe curtains, velvet sofas, a varnished bar top and wooden parquet floor, transporting you back to a bygone era of cabaret. It’s a setting that reflects the experience of Madame Arthur, which was created in 1946 and has welcomed some of the most famous transvestite artists.
With cocktail in hand, you’ll be carried away by the offbeat, bawdy atmosphere. And if you want to prolong your evening, head for the neighbouring Divan du Monde for a night of clubbing in a fun atmosphere with local Parisians.
French Collection – Madame Arthur chante la musique française at the Divan du Monde / Madame Arthur
Chicago Le Musical
You probably already know the key ingredients of the mythical musical Chicago: the 1920s, a cabaret, a crime of passion, and a meeting between two women in prison.
Created in 1975, Chicago is one of Broadway’s most iconic shows and holds the record for the longest run with an uninterrupted 22 years of billing in New York. The musical has since been exported, first to London and then to Paris last September.
Adapted for the big screen in 2002 with Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, it has been transformed into French for its Parisian run. Songs and scenes are all in French, but don’t worry if you don’t speak the lingo: a simultaneous translation is displayed in English.
On stage, the artists are not the only stars of the show: the orchestra sits in the middle of the stage like in a jazz club, infusing audiences with infectious tunes throughout the evening. The spectacular choreography mixes Charleston and cabaret, making for a fun, irreverent show with a good dose of “All that jazz”!
Chicago Le Musical at the Théâtre Mogador