Résumé

The Pigalle Quarter is the name of a district of Paris, located around the Pigalle square, it includes the streets located on both sides of the boulevards of Clichy and Marguerite-de-Rochechouart, and extends on the 9th and 18th districts. The square is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714-1785).

The district is renowned for being a tourist mecca (it is located at the foot of the Montmartre hill). Even if the time when mobsters, policemen and clients met in Pigalle seems long gone, there are still some sex shops and specialized bars. However, the nightclubs, the famous cabarets, the multicolored and neon signs that give the image of a hot district are for many today a decor for tourists.

To be seen nearby : Café de la Nouvelle Athènes. 9 place Pigalle

Café de la Nouvelle Athènes. 9 place Pigalle, Paris (France). From 1871 to the end of the 19th century, it was a meeting place for painters of the Impressionist movement. It was the setting for several famous paintings, including Degas's L'absinthe and Manet's La Prune. Suzanne Valadon can be seen in the painting "Au café la Nouvelle Athènes" by Italian Divisionist painter Federico Zandomeneghi in 1885.

Localisation
Access

Pigalle Quarter
Place du Quartier Saint Georges
75009 Paris

  • Metro : station Pigalle (line 2 and line 12) - Station Anvers (line 2) - Station Blanche (line 2) - Station Place Clichy (line 2 and 13)
  • RER : station Gare du Nord (line D)
  • Bus  : 30, 40, 54
Address

Pigalle Quarter
Place du Quartier Saint Georges
75009 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 52′ 26″ N 2° 20′ 15″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.88239 2.33701
Description complète

The Pigalle Quarter is the name of a district of Paris, located around the Pigalle square, it includes the streets located on both sides of the boulevards of Clichy and Marguerite-de-Rochechouart, and extends on the 9th and 18th districts. The square is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714-1785).

Pigalle and history

The square was once called "Place de la Barrière-Montmartre".

In 1785, the fermiers généraux (tax administration of the time) in charge of collecting royal taxes asked the architect Ledoux to surround the capital with a tax enclosure, which cut the commune of Montmartre in two: Montmartre intra-muros (the current 9th) was subject to taxes. The other part of Montmartre remained "outside Paris" without taxes (a sort of "free zone") until the 1860s, which allowed its development. The rounding of the Place Pigalle was drawn around the three arches of Ledoux's octroi gate, demolished in 1861.

At the end of the 19th century, the surrounding streets were a district of painters' studios and literary cafés frequented by "viveurs", dancers and demi-mondaines. The most famous was the New Athens. It inspired a famous song by Georges Ulmer: "Un p'tit jet d'eau, une station de métro, entourée de bistrots, Pigalle...". At the edge of the fountain, there was a market for models for the impressionist painters of the end of the 19th century like Manet.

To see in the immediate surroundings

At n° 13 (Hôtel Royal) are sculpted winged horses and chimeras by the 18th century sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. It is his name that gave the name of the place (and the neighborhood).

Also worth seeing:

  • Café de la Nouvelle Athènes. 9 place Pigalle in Paris (France). It was from 1871 to the end of the 19th century, a meeting place for painters of the impressionist movement. It was the setting for several famous paintings, such as Degas' Absinthe, and Manet's La Prune. Suzanne Valadon can be seen in the painting "Au café la Nouvelle Athènes" painted in 1885 by Federico Zandomeneghi, an Italian divisionist painter.
  • Museum of Romantic Life (Musée de la Vie romantique) some 250 m away, at 16 rue Chaptal, in the Hotel Scheffer-Renan, former home of Dutch-born painter Ary Scheffer. On the first floor of the pavilion built in 1830, the museum exhibits the memories of the novelist George Sand, who came as a neighbor to visit the painters. The salons here recreate her lifestyle with paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture, jewelry and display objects from her home in Nohant-Vic in Berry. Upstairs, the rooms evoke the memory of Ary Scheffer as well as his contemporaries - and the philosopher Ernest Renan, who became his nephew by marriage. See Listing.

Pigalle, today a tourist district

The district is renowned for being a tourist mecca (it is located below the Montmartre hill). Even if the time when mobsters, policemen and clients met in Pigalle seems long gone, there are still some sex shops and specialized bars. However, the nightclubs, the famous cabarets, the multicolored and neon signs that give the image of a hot district are for many today a decor for tourists. The Pigalle district includes several theaters, cabarets:

Today, it is also the district of the stores of musical instruments (guitars, keyboards, recording...). There are many of them, on boulevard de Clichy, rue Victor-Massé and rue de Douai.

The history of Pigalle in today's imagination, begins in 1881

The history of Pigalle, as a red-light district, begins in 1881 with the opening, in a former post office, of the cabaret Le Chat noir.. It was at 84, boulevard Marguerite-de-Rochechouart where Aristide Bruant worked. Bruant took over the cabaret in 1885, moved it to rue Victor Massé and renamed it Le Mirliton. In October 1885,  Maxime Lisbonne, back from New Caledonia where he was serving a life sentence for his participation in the Paris Commune uprising in 1871. Amnestied in 1880, he opened La Marmite, where he presented daring shows and invented the striptease at the Japanese Divan.

In 1889, another cabaret, Le Moulin-Rouge, was set up at the bottom of the Montmartre hill. It is quickly followed by many restaurants and bars. The clientele of the usual districts of the night pleasure presses around the Porte Saint-Martin and the Porte Saint-Denis. Pimps followed and frequented the night ball of the Élysée-Montmartre, at 80, boulevard Rochechouart. The district is immortalized by artists such as Henri de Toulouse-LautrecPablo Picasso, , Vincent van Gogh, Maurice Neumont , Salvador Dalí.

The arrival of the "criminal underworld" in the Pigalle Quarter

Around 1910, the "criminal underworld" settled in the Pigalle and Montmartre districts. On Place Pigalle, the cafés La Nouvelle Athènes, La Kermesse, Le Petit Maxim's, L'Omnibus, welcomed every night hoodlums and pimps. At La Kermesse, the Coco Gâteau team reigns. The pimps look for girls to turn into prostitutes who will be sent to brothels as far away as Argentina and the United States. Gambling tables proliferated with professional players using made-up cards.

In 1918, with the restrictions on alcohol and light, only the brothels remained open after 9 pm. They were now in the hands of the real men of the "milieu". In the 1930s, Pigalle became the epicenter of the underworld, with mobsters setting up their businesses in Place Blanche, Place Pigalle, and the surrounding streets (Rue Fontaine, Rue de Bruxelles). They also settle their accounts there. Their brothels were mainly in the 9th arrondissement. Two thousand girls work in the 177 brothels, with prostitutes in the streets every five meters.

The kingpins of the white slave trade

The kingpins of the white slave trade can be found in the Place Blanche, in the Graff brasserie and in the Place Blanche café, which has a private club in its basement, L'Aquarium, or in the Rat mort, Pigall's or Monico. The champagne is flowing. They are also at the dance hall Le Petit Jardin at "26 boulevard de Clichy". The Tahiti is still one of the favorite hunting places of the pimps. Artists such as Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and John Steinbeck were all there. At "66 rue de Pigalle", Bricktop's became one of the most famous jazz cabarets of the 1930s.

The golden age of Pigalle Quarter between 1930 and 1960

In 1932, a war began in the milieu, with the "Corsican" hoodlums attacking the "Parisian" hoodlums. Murders took place in front of the Red Angel, the Black Ball and Zelly's. The police multiplied their interventions and closed the cabarets. Shortly before the war, heroin arrived en masse. It is sold in bars and restaurants, and its trade is controlled by mobsters like Joseph Rocca-Serra, Vincent Battestini and André Antonelli.

The Second World War and the German Occupation did not bring much change to the business of the neighborhood hoodlums. Private clubs, underground gambling dens, cabarets, dancings, nightclubs and brothels continued to receive customers. Members of the Gestapo liked to meet at the Place Pigalle, the Dante and the Chapiteau, and on the Rue de Pigalle, at the Chantilly and the Heure Bleue.

At the Liberation, the new Marthe Richard law prohibited brothels in France. This decision did not make prostitution disappear. The prostitutes found themselves on the street or working in brothels. At the end of the 1950s, the "Three Ducks Gang", named after the bar that served as their headquarters, raided the brothels and the girls who worked there. The most popular bars were Le Charly's and Le Petit Noailles.

In the 1960s, the police intervened. Many brothels were prosecuted for pimping and their owners were gradually forced to close them down. The number of prostitutes decreased at the same time, but the neighborhood remained very popular for partying with its carnivals, strip clubs and hostess bars. The number of mobsters in the neighborhood decreased sharply during this same period. They were content to invest their earnings there.

From the beginning of the 1970s, with the liberation of morals, the first pornographic cinemas were set up, sex stores multiplied as well as massage parlors, and the first live shows appeared, in which couples made love in public.

Films shot in or about Pigalle

About thirty films have been shot in relation with Pigalle, in particular:

  • Maigret in Pigalle
  • 56 rue Pigalle, directed in 1948 by Willy Rozier
  • Pigalle-Saint-Germain-des-Prés, directed in 1950 by André Berthomieu
  • Bob le flambeur, directed in 1956 by Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Le Désert de Pigalle, directed in 1958 by Léo Joannon
  • Zazie dans le métro, directed in 1960 by Louis Malle
  • Les Ripoux, directed in 1984 by Claude Zidi
  • Ripoux contre ripoux, directed in 1990 by Claude Zidi
  • Pigalle, directed in 1994 by Karim Dridi
  • Le Mille et un soleils de Pigalle, directed in 2006 by Marcel Mazé
  • Pigalle, a 109-minute documentary directed in 2006 by Pascal Vasselin
  • Pigalle, la nuit, French drama series, directed in 2009
  • Pigalle, a popular history of Paris, 60 min documentary directed in 2017 by David Dufresne, Arte

The song and Pigalle

  • Pigalle (1946) by Georges Ulmer: this song, very well known in France, will be taken up by many performers and in 2005, the central median of the boulevard de Clichy will take the name of promenade Georges-Ulmer. The promenade Coccinelle will be created later, in 2016.
  • Les P'tites Femmes de Pigalle (1973), by Serge Lama in the album Je suis malade
  • Pigalle la blanche (1981), by Bernard Lavilliers in the album Nuit d'amour
  • J'suis né à Pigalle (2003), by Stomy Bugsy in the album 4ème round
  • Pigalle (2018), by Therapie TAXI in the album Hit Sale
  • Pigalle (2020), by Barbara Pravi in the EP Reviens pour l'hiver
  • Pigalle (2020) by Captaine Roshi in the album Attaque II

Literature on Pigalle

Authors René Fallet, Francis CarcoAuguste Le Breton, André Héléna and Georges Simenon have also written about Pigalle.

Static Code
[[booking]]
  • No comments yet.
  • Add a review