untitled symphony

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.

The Cabaret L’Enfer (Hell) was in Montmartre on the Boulevard de Clichy, a stone’s throw from the Moulin Rouge.  It was one of the world’s first “theme” clubs, albeit a Satanic theme.  Photo by Atget.

William Chambers Morrow and Édouard Cucuel, authors of the 1899 book Bohemian Paris of To-Day, described the scene at L’Enfer thus:

“Enter and be damned, the Evil One awaits you!” growled a chorus of rough voices as we hesitated before the scene confronting us. Near us was suspended a caldron over a fire, and hopping within it were half a dozen devil musicians, male and female, playing a selection from “Faust” on stringed instruments, while red imps stood by, prodding with red-hot irons those who lagged in their performance.

Crevices in the walls of this room ran with streams of molten gold and silver, and here and there were caverns lit up by smouldering fires from which thick smoke issued, and vapors emitting the odors of a volcano. Flames would suddenly burst from clefts in the rocks, and thunder rolled through the caverns. Red imps were everywhere, darting about noiselessly, some carrying beverages for the thirsty lost souls, others stirring the fires or turning somersaults. Everything was in a high state of motion.


And finally, next door to L’Enfer was Le Ciel (Heaven), where guests were greeted by a tipsy St. Peter. Source.