Paris in the 1890’s had the best nightlife around, especially for the morbidly curious. Many clubs sought (and still do) to be the most unique in order to get the cash flowing.

One of these was the Caberet du Néant (The Cabaret of Nothingness) where patrons could sit on coffins and served Libations by monks and funeral attendees. The drinks were themed this way and so it meant that the whole thing was a night out away from the mundane.

Having had a few in the ‘sale d’intoxication’ they would move to other rooms, the revelry would include parlour tricks like making the illusion that they were turning into skeletons as they walked through. It is unfortunate but the club did not survive World War II.

You couild also go to Cabaret de l’Emfer (The Cabaret of the Inferno) which was satanically themed. The club had people witness a snake turn into a devil, were heckled by the devil himself and even warned about going further in due to the heat of hell. It’s amusing to note that anecdotes from the time say that people actually complained it was chilly however!

The Cabaret de l’Enfer was still around for a while, the last picture was taken in 1952. It is of the outside with a policeman walking past it.

Not everyone would want the darkest of sides, so relief there was also the Caberet du Ciel, (the Cabaret of the Sky) where Dante and Father Time would greet their visitors.

Today we have themed pubs, but I can’t help these places paved the way for lovely and interesting things by being just that too.

Antonin Alexander

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