Oh La La- Finding the Iconic Sex and Sleeze of Paris

tourist attractions

When someone thinks of Paris, the first words that come to mind are probably glamour, romance, the Eiffel Tower, croissants… the list goes on and on. But there is something that many don’t realize about Parisians, that in the turn of the century Belle Epoque — the beautiful age — lifestyle, romance often equaled sex.

You got that right. With brothels, cabaret shows, and demimondaines, Paris at night– and sometimes during the day!– was brought alive with all things risque. Flash forward to today, and this lifestyle can still be seen in subtleties all over the city.

Go ahead and explore when you visit Paris, you don’t have to go in! Seeing what these iconic landmarks meant in early 20th century Paris brings the idea of tourist attractions to a whole new light. No trip to Paris is complete without taking a glimpse at this colorful past, non?

Pigalle
This decades-old sex district is truly a site to see in any Paris vacation, even if it is just for the bright lights alone. Chocked full of sex shops, adult shows, and adult theaters, this Quartier Pigalle hasn’t changed much since the Belle Epoque.

It even has one of the most extraordinary tourist attractions in all of Paris, the Erotic Museum, which gives any visitor a comprehensive tour of the neighborhood’s past.

While there, head over a few blocks and learn how to say ‘Je t’aime’ in 250 languages on the Les Mur des Je t’aime, or I Love You: The Wall in Montmartre, Paris. It is only appropriate.

Palais Royal
This re-purposed palace can be the epicenter of European culture for some, as it was once a brothel of sorts. This popular prostitution area was known to be the hang out place for many a lewd activity, but nowadays, it holds the meetings for France’s Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture.

Oh France, never change.

Moulin Rouge
This famous cabaret theater has been known worldwide for its iconic red windmill. Situated between the Monmartre art district and Pigalle, this place was the place for the spiritual birthplace of the can-can.

Can-can you go in? Sure, but the less interested may just want to take a selfie outside on the fanning vent, a la Marilyn Monroe.

Now, there will be a lot of tourists in Paris. In 2011 there were 980 million alone. Do you know what this means? Not dressing like a tourist and making yourself a target. This means no fanny packs, white sneakers, or sports logos.You’re going to promiscuous tourist attractions. Probably not the time.

Vacationing in Paris can be a wonderful thing, especially if you are a part of the 45% of Americans that take an annual vacation.

So go on to make it one to remember and find the sex and sleaze that can only be described as magical in Paris!

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