Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Paris, France

Chez Christiane

BDSM, 1930s Style. 

In Le Guide Rose, a series of books that provided reviews of Parisian brothels, Chez Christiane, at 9 Rue de Navarin, is described as a brothel for “special passions”. This term was in fact a euphemism for fetishism and unconventional sexual appetites. While such unorthodox tastes were nothing new, the reforms of the French Third Republic combined with the boom of industrial revolution were instrumental in creating an environment ripe for a new genre of pleasure establishments. These establishments were more specialized, often luxurious, and were places where realization of even the darkest fantasies could be negotiated for the right price. The wealthy elite or just those with some extra cash to spend could choose from collars, chastity belts, chains, or Saint Andrew’s Cross, as well as options from an entire portfolio of highly variegated scenarios offered by the House. Patrons might take an erotic journey through the Spanish Inquisition, indulge in some boot worship, or just some classic role play in safety at Chez Christiane.The slightly gothic facade is all that remains of the brothel, which closed in 1946 after La loi Marthe Richard was passed, which made brothels illegal. Alas, there are no pictures from the dungeon, only rumors and police reports. The only visual evidence we have are the pictures made for the catalogue of Yva Richard, an early twentieth century seamstress and fashion designer who specialized in fetish wear. So…how vivid is your imagination?

Know Before You Go

Metro Saint Georges

Note: just a facade, nothing to do here.