Posted by: nancycurteman | April 28, 2010

Place Pigalle: Cancans and Cabarets

Place Pigalle is well-known for its peep shows, sex shops, “ladies of the night,” strip clubs, and cabaret topless and nude shows. Its bawdy reputation led World War II Allied Soldiers to nickname it “Pig Alley.” One of the most famous cabarets, Moulin Rouge, is located near the square. Celebrated for introducing the whooping wild Cancan to the world, Moulin Rouge was immortalized in the paintings of artist Toulouse-Lautrec and in the music of Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier and the American jazz singer, Madeleine Peyroux. It’s a bit ironic that the notoriously risqué Place Pigalle is named after a quite proper sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle whose claim to fame is his nude statue of Voltaire which can be seen in the Louvre. Could this Voltaire sculpture be the connection between the two? Pigalle is still the Parisian go-to place for a rollicking night on the town.


  1. I visited Paris once as a teen . . . I did not get to visit “Pig Alley,” but I did have a glass of wine at Le Tour Eiffel.

    Thanks for letting me know what I missed. : )


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