Of all the things we love about being in France — besides the pastries, the social democracy, the intoxicating architecture —  it’s bomb that we know how to shake it ~just so~… Only Parisians could invent shows such as cabarets — live entertainment combining elements of a theatre, concert, dance show, and a bottle of champagne. With — usually a suggestive ‘coupe’ of sexual liberté…

Singing, danc­ing, bend­ing over…it all hap­pens here all year round and not only on the week­ends. If that alone is not enough, in most of those places you can choose from a vari­ety of tick­ets (show only, pre­mi­um show, show with cham­pagne, show with din­ner, show with snacks in a guy’s liv­ing room even (we dug DEEP, yo) …you get the point). Warn­ing: nips, booty, some­times guy in Dior lip­stick abound, and they ain’t slip­pin’ — it’s ful­ly inten­tion­al. So maybe leave moth­er-in-law at the Airbnb.

Then there are the hip­sters’ ver­sion of cir­cus, the clas­sic French folk shows, and some things in-between…

Crazy Horse

Pic­ture what could go on in Paris at a place called Crazy Horse. If you guessed the sex­i­est Parisian cabaret, then you’re bang on. Occu­py­ing for­mer wine cel­lars close to the Champs-Elysées since ear­ly 1950s, this place has been an insti­tu­tion (and until recent­ly, a fam­i­ly busi­ness, btw) ever since (it was ref­er­enced in the Rolling Stone’s song, after all). From time to time, instead of catch­ing the glimpse of freed nip­ple (some­times even belong­ing to one and only Pamela Ander­son), you may see a stage full of magi­cians, jug­glers, and mimes. The danc­ing spec­ta­cle, how­ev­er, is one where you’ll need some wild hors­es to drag you away. Ladies be warned — if you were on the fence, you will leave with a cer­ti­fi­ably not-less-than 49% gay quo­tient. Or so my friend says… Note: wear a sexy dress/nice evening attire to look your best and you’ll enjoy it more as you won’t feel so out­gunned by the sheer flaw­less­ness of all that booty…

ADDRESS: 12 Avenue George V in the (8th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Eif­fel Tow­er / Trocadéro

HOW TO BOOK: here or here

SEXY FACTOR: 11/10

NUMBER: +33 1 47 23 32 32

DEETS: bur­lesque, dance shows, insti­tu­tion, quirky his­to­ry, adults only, dress chic n’ sexy

INSTAGRAM: @crazyhorseparis_official

Moulin Rouge

Does this place even need an intro­duc­tion? Le Moulin Rouge is not only the most famous bur­lesque venue in the world, but also the birth­place of that friv­o­lous (but actu­al­ly very fem­i­nist) dance we all know as the French Can­can. Since 1889 (the same year the Eif­fel Tow­er was con­struct­ed — coin­ci­dence? I think not), it has brought joy (in the form of exposed bot­toms and beau­coup long, sexy, legs) to chil­dren those who can appre­ci­ate the art. While nowa­days fair­ly com­mer­cialised, it still retains its old charm (as well as semi-orig­i­nal fin de siè­cle decor), but you either have to trust our word or swing by your­self, as there’s actu­al­ly a no-pho­to pol­i­cy inside. 

For even more info about the Moulin Rouge or to find the best options for tick­ets, check out our arti­cle.

This is anoth­er spot for which it’s rec­om­mend­ed to wear that sexy dress/ evening wear so you’ll feel com­fort­able amongst all the eye can­dy. There are places to dress down, and the chic, clas­sic, bur­lesque shows of Paris are most cer­tain­ly not it. Au revoir, mom jeans…

ADDRESS: 82 Boule­vard de Clichy (18th arr.) 

NEIGHBORHOOD: Pigalle

METRO: Blanche or Pigalle (line 2)

HOW TO BOOK: here or here

SEXY FACTOR: 9/10

NUMBER: +33 1 53 09 82 82

DEETS: bur­lesque, quirky his­to­ry, dress code, Paris insti­tu­tion, so worth it

INSTAGRAM: @moulinrougeofficiel

Cirque Electrique

In the begin­ning, Cirque Elec­trique was sort of a trav­el­ling cir­cus, until it moved into a no-man’s land on the out­skirts of Paris, where it stands today. This place (lit­er­al­ly and fig­u­ra­tive­ly) serves as a link between inner-city and sub­ur­ban artists through a space ded­i­cat­ed to the cre­ation, dis­sem­i­na­tion and trans­mis­sion of cir­cus arts. It’s so much more than just a the­atre — there’s a restau­rant and a bar here, a book­store, record store, a cir­cus school and soon prob­a­bly even more cre­ative spaces… And if you’re lucky enough to catch their show dur­ing a sun­ny day, they just might decide to host you outdoors.

As for what to wear, it’s like Antifa meets Cirque du Soleil. So come as you are and skip the heels unless they are Doc Maarten plat­forms or some crazy punk shit. 

ADDRESS: Place du Maquis du Ver­cors  (20th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Ménil­montant / Jourdain

METRO: Porte des Lilas (line 11)

HOW TO BOOK: here

SEXY FACTOR: Depends on what you are into but that’s not the point here so let’s say 2/10

NUMBER: +33 9 54 54 47 24

DEETS: punk, alter­na­tive, cir­cus, the­atre, out­door space, freak and chic, punk

INSTAGRAM: @__cirque_electrique__

cabaret des merveilles

Tak­ing the reins as queen of the queer prom after the (nooooo) clos­ing of le17, Le Cabaret des Mer­veilles is a cheap and freaky space hid­den away on a lit­tle pas­sage­way — held close to the vest for queer per­form­ers, par­tic­u­lar those falling on la femme side of the gen­der spec­trum (which is basi­cal­ly a rubik’s cube at this point in our social pro­gres­sion as a species). Check the cal­en­dar (on Ins­ta only, the friend­ly bitch­es run­ning the joint are too busy hav­ing fun to have a seri­ous web­site) because some nights they trade booty for chess. (There’s always booze though.) From ~ drag king ~nights (gals-as-guys most­ly) to striptease for the girls, by the girls, the male gaze has been glee­ful­ly tossed in the coatcheck. (Which is a pile of coats in the cor­ner), shit’s real punk rock here, at least as much as one can get in the posh side of town — the chic Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés. Kind of like those  com­mu­nists in col­lege financed by their sub­ur­ban par­ents but what bet­ter use of the good real estate that to cut loose from all that is hold­ing you back? Not a tourist in sight, so come correct. 

ADDRESS: 25 rue de l’Hi­ron­delle (6th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Saint-Ger­main-des-Prés

METRO: St. Michel-Notre Dame (line 4)

HOW TO BOOK: show up with cash

SEXY FACTOR: Depends on the night, chess is mild but Sexy Night is 11/10

NUMBER: nope

DEETS: punk, fem­i­nist, alter­na­tive, freak and chic, ladies-first

INSTAGRAM: @cabaret_des_merveilles

Cabaret Sauvage

Red vel­vet, col­ored stained glass win­dows, carved pil­lars and a wood­en dance floor… I know we’re not here to talk archi­tec­ture, but this place mix­es old and new Parisian Bohemia in a way that is just *sigh* as beau­ti­ful as their decor. The agen­da is full of con­certs (both classy- and trashy-lean­ing), DJ sets and so-called intel­lec­tu­al fight-clubs, what­ev­er that is (they say it involves chess. Hmmm). Either way, it’s worth check­ing out, even if you’re just on your way to one of the oth­er venues in the area.

ADDRESS: 59 Boule­vard Mac­don­ald (19th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Canal de l’Our­cq / La Villette

METRO: Porte de Pan­tin (line 5)

HOW TO BOOK: online

SEXY FACTOR: varies depend­ing on the pro­gram but can show skin so that’s 8/10 tops

NUMBER: +33 1 42 09 03 09

DEETS: great decor, out­door space, club­bing expe­ri­ence, cool neighbourhood

INSTAGRAM: @cabaret_sauvage_paris

La Nouvelle Seine 

There’s laugh­ter and glam­our to be found in this place. Docked right next to Notre Dame (Jesus is look­ing), their show may be small­er than in oth­er venues, but it’s rock­ing, alright. Of course their bur­lesque nights are mag­i­cal, but they also advo­cate for wom­en’s (and drag queens’) right to be on scene with standup nights, con­certs, impro­vi­sa­tions and even chil­dren’s the­atre. They are also a more bud­get-friend­ly (and yet still classy) option if you’d like to eat din­ner on a boat, with their French cui­sine bar-restaurant.

This is the fun, Indie‑, and self-aware option to get a less-touristy night among Parisian entertainers…

ADDRESS: 3 Quai de Mon­te­bel­lo (water lever) (5th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Latin Quar­ter / Berge de Seine

METRO: St. Michel (line 4) or Maubert Mutu­al­ité (line 10)

HOW TO BOOK: online

SEXY FACTOR: depends high­ly on the pro­gram­ming du jour, from kid-friend­ly to 8/10 skin-showing

NUMBER: +33 01 43 54 08 08

DEETS: on the water, bur­lesque, resto, french speak­ing, versatile

INSTAGRAM: @lanouvelleseine

Lido2Paris

Le Lido is anoth­er place that has become ~an insti­tu­tion~. It first opened in 1946 (at a time when peo­ple need­ed some fun, for Pete’s sake) and since then it has host­ed an end­less list of great artists (with names such as Edith Piaf, Josephine Bak­er, Elton John, Shirley MacLaine and the Lau­rel & Hardy duo being just the tip of the ice­berg). The orig­i­nal cabaret, how­ev­er, closed its doors in the ear­ly 2010s (I feel so old writ­ing this) in order to, behind the closed doors of their venue at the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, cre­ate what we now know as Le Lido 2.0. Nowa­days, its cre­ative show, while still includ­ing their inter­na­tion­al­ly-known Blue­bell Girls (not to men­tion lead roles with act­ing expe­ri­ences for days or chore­og­ra­phy includ­ing dancers in a cham­pagne water­fall), is host­ed in the new­ly remod­eled the­atre, with the chore­og­ra­phy and cos­tumes chang­ing twice a year. Nerd alert: They also offer din­ner par­ties accom­pa­nied by a robot­ic orches­tra. Not the point of it all, I guess, but to each their own.

After the Big Cooties (Covid) they reboot­ed as a more exper­i­men­tal show, so if you saw it a few years ago it might be fun to ~come again~…

ADDRESS: 116 bis Avenue des Champs Elysées (8th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Arc de Tri­om­phe / Champs-Elysées / Concorde

METRO: George V (line 1)

HOW TO BOOK: reservations@eventim.fr

SEXY FACTOR: 7/10

NUMBER: +33 1 53 33 45 50

DEETS: insti­tu­tion, bur­lesque, shows in english

INSTAGRAM: @lidoparis

Sister Midnight

There might be not space betwixt you and thine frilly lady­boys work­ing it like homo­eroti­ic bal­leri­nas but near­ly get­ting kicked in the face by a drag god­dess bedaz­zled with gen­uine chi­nese crys­tals is part of the charm. Sure, the Crazy Horse may have ele­gant vel­vet and door­men in suits and a (per­son­al­ly) unset­tling­ly nonex­is­tant amount of cel­lulite, but ~holy hell~ here, at Sis­ter Mid­night, the cock­tails are bedev­il­ing­ly good and you get Le Real Deal, from the source. Lit­er­al­ly, don’t be stingy and chip away at a local drag godesss’ rent with that 20 in your purse. They will pay it for­ward with pizazz. That’s what life’s about, non???? You want­ed authen­tic­i­ty — here it may graze your cheek with its’ stilet­to. TIP: Check in advance of they have a show on and don’t expect seat­ing. One of the best nights we passed there involved us in a pud­dle on the floor (order cock­tails for this obv) which made it feel like a vel­veteen, adult, Lollapalooza ..

ADDRESS:  25, Rue Pierre Fontaine (9th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Pigalle

METRO: Pigalle (line 2, 12)

HOW TO BOOK: online

SEXY FACTOR: who does­n’t like a drag queen (rhetor­i­cal) 10/10

NUMBER: +33 6 74 39 32 20

DEETS: friend­ly neigh­bor­hood drag queen bar, shows fri­day and sat­ur­day, glam rock vibe

INSTAGRAM: @sis­ter­mid­night­paris

Cabaret Cirque at Le Zèbre de Belleville

You’ve heard about the Cirque du Soleil, right? Well, Cabaret Cirque at Le Zèbre is quite sim­i­lar, but French (=bet­ter. Sor­ry, Que­bec, we’re on our land here). With its his­to­ry going back to World War II, Le Zèbre embraced the spir­it of trou­bled artists want­i­ng to share their craft with a broad­er audi­ence (a very Bellevil­loise thing, may I add) and cre­at­ed an amaz­ing show with jug­glers, trapeze artists, tightrope walk­ers, magi­cians and all. that. jazz. With many shows ded­i­cat­ed to kids’ taste in enter­tain­ment (and their par­ents), it’s a great spot for a fam­i­ly evening; and the only ani­mal that will be hurt is a giant fab­ric zebra that the kids always ask to hop up on (even though it’s 2D).

Don’t wor­ry about the grit­ty appear­ance of the neigh­bor­hood– it’s not a bad neigh­bor­hood (I live there, lol–kw) it’s a trendy and fun part of Paris to real­ly immerse your­self like a local. 

ADDRESS:  63 Bd de Belleville (11th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Belleville

METRO: Belleville (lines 2,11)

HOW TO BOOK: online

SEXY FACTOR: 1/10

NUMBER: +33 1 43 55 55 55

DEETS: indy, cir­cus, fam­i­ly friendly

INSTAGRAM: @Lezebredebelleville

Aux Trois Mailletz

Any jazz fans in the house? If so, you’re gonna like this one. This Parisian jazz club is locat­ed in medieval cel­lars dat­ing from the 13th cen­tu­ry and has been ful­ly devot­ed to tra­di­tion­al jazz since the ear­ly 1950s. Ever since, the club has wel­comed big names in jazz, includ­ing Bil­lie Hol­i­day, Nina Simone, Cham­pi­on Jack Dupree, Mezz Mez­zrow and many oth­ers. They’ve also put a great empha­sis on shows that have been refused else­where, for exam­ple due to social injus­tice. More recent­ly, they are also focus­ing on nur­tur­ing young, bright, jazzy minds. If all that does­n’t scream « I’ll be see­ing you », I don’t know what can.

ADDRESS:  56 Rue Galande (5th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Latin Quar­ter

METRO: Saint-Michel (line 4) or Cluny La Sor­bonne (line 10)

HOW TO BOOK: reservations@lestroismailletz.fr

SEXY FACTOR: 3/10, more due to the songs than vis­i­ble flesh

NUMBER: +33 1 43 54 00 79

DEETS: jazz club, dance club, piano bar, his­tor­i­cal place

INSTAGRAM: @aux­tro­is­mail­letz

Au Lapin Agile

Opened cir­ca 1860 (and first known as « Where the Thieves Meet » or even « The Assas­s­in’s Cabaret »), this is anoth­er place that (lit­er­al­ly) bleeds his­to­ry. Locat­ed in Mont­martre, once a per­fect neigh­bour­hood for strug­gling artists, it has seen (and heard) a lot over the years. Sit down in one of the tables once occu­pied by Picas­so, Modigliani, Baude­laire and Apol­li­naire and try to grasp the true mean­ing of art (when in Rome, you know…), with the accom­pa­ni­ment of musi­cians and poets who per­form tra­di­tion­al French songs, some of them even dat­ing back as far as the 15th cen­tu­ry. Don’t let the pret­ty pink­ish façade fool you though — the place (or maybe more like the neigh­bour­hood) still attracts some ~intense~ pub­lic, so maybe don’t go too heavy on the booze, just in case.

They include with every tick­et, their house-made cher­ry cock­tail to get the jovial, sin­ga­long, vibe rolling. Think Chan­son Fran­caise, old-school folk clas­sics banged out on a piano — almost like a fron­tier cabaret. No wag­ging booty in sight so, while it’s still an ~adult~ envi­ron­ment, expect nei­ther tit­il­la­tion nor provo­ca­tion — as one of my unfor­tu­nate dates found out when he could not secure last-minute tick­ets to the Moulin Rouge and took me here instead; knee-slap­ping the night away to Granny’s favorite clas­sic piano bits was not what he had hoped for. But great if you (keep­ing it) Con­ser­v­a­tive and/or are trav­el­ing with your mother-in-law…

ADDRESS: 22 Rue des Saules (18th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Mont­martre

METRO: Lamar­ck — Caulain­court (line 12)

HOW TO BOOK: infos@au-lapin-agile.com

SEXY FACTOR: (null)

NUMBER: +33 1 46 06 85 87

DEETS: no food, nice views, tra­di­tion­al French, poetry

INSTAGRAM: @au_lapin_agile

Paradis Latin

First opened in 1807 by the orders of Napoleon Bona­parte, Par­adis went to hell and back before it became the place it is today. It was closed and then recon­struct­ed mul­ti­ple times (notably in late 1880s by the one and only Gus­tave Eif­fel), was lat­er aban­doned, then turned into a work­shop, and then a ware­house. At some point, there were even plans to turn it into an apart­ment com­plex — but the plan­ners changed their minds after see­ing Eif­fel’s orig­i­nal work and decid­ed to restore it instead. Phew for us. Now the Par­adis hosts up to 700 peo­ple and mul­ti­ple shows a day, each one with a spe­cial menu signed of by Guy Savoy and Pierre Her­mé. Feels like Heav­en again…

Again, dress to impress! Would­n’t you rather feel like a sleek n’ sexy pan­ther as you walk through the jun­gle to your table?

NOTE: there is a new, spe­cial, chil­dren’s cabaret that is NOT a heart-melt­ing, flaw­less-flesh parade. 

ADDRESS: 28, Rue du Car­di­nal Lemoine (5th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD:Latin Quar­ter

METRO: Car­di­nal Lemoine (line 10) or Jussieu (line 7, 10)

HOW TO BOOK: here or here

SEXY FACTOR: 11/10 (except for the spe­cial chil­dren’s show which is adapt­ed to young ones and lacks booty — that’s 0/10 so no worries)

NUMBER: +33 1 43 25 28 28

DEETS: old­er than papirus, basi­cal­ly the Eif­fel Tow­er (alter­na­tive edi­tion) if you ask me

INSTAGRAM: @paradislatin

Chez Michou

Recent­ly reopened after the death of its name­sake cre­ator, Chez Michou com­bines things that Michou loved most — the Mont­martre quar­ter, the col­or blue, and cross-dress­ing. From the begin­ning, Michou realised that in Paris, the French cap­i­tal of drink­ing and par­ty­ing, (and, I sur­mise, the World Cap­i­tal of Sexy) it was impor­tant to stand out in order to be suc­cess­ful…and since Édith Piaf or Josephine Bak­er could only be in one place at a time, why not have some­one dressed as them? Since then, the drag queens and kings alike, called les Michettes (AKA « the crumbs »), per­form sev­en days a week. On the small­est ~pub­lic~ cabaret scene in the city (22 square feet — still big­ger than many apart­ments here) (keep read­ing for the REAL small­est below) they sing their hearts out dressed as beloved French and inter­na­tion­al stars. Once a month, there’s a lunch show for all the elder­ly papys and mamies in the neigh­bour­hood as a trib­ute to Michou’s grand­moth­er. Good for when you’re feel­ing blue (or rainbow‑y).

ADDRESS:  80 Rue des Mar­tyrs (18th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD:Mont­martre

METRO: Pigalle (line 2, 12) or Absess­es (line 12)

SEXY FACTOR: 6/10

NUMBER: +33 1 46 06 16 04

DEETS: drag queens, din­ner spec­ta­cle, cheeky

INSTAGRAM: @cabaretmichou

La Nouvelle Eve

Always liv­ing in the shad­ow of that cer­tain some­what more famous neigh­bor, Moulin Rouge, The New Eve at times strug­gled to keep its head above water — until it decid­ed to com­plete­ly rein­vent its image. Entire­ly redec­o­rat­ed in Belle Époque style in the 1960s, the place accom­mo­dates up to 300 guests around its 1970s-styled dance floor, mak­ing it way more inti­mate (and less com­mer­cialised) than its ultra-famous crim­son neigh­bour. Their newest show, Paris je t’aime, is a trib­ute to the artis­tic his­to­ry of  City of Light as well as Mont­martre’s biggest star, Edith Piaf. Come see the show full of dancers, jug­glers, acro­bats, and even Piaf’s « La vie en Rose » anthem, done up tango-style. 

ADDRESS: 25, Rue Pierre Fontaine (9th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Pigalle

METRO: Pigalle (line 2, 12)

HOW TO BOOK: here or here

SEXY FACTOR: 9/10, some nudi­ty but less focus on it than the oth­er SEXY x 10 cabarets

NUMBER: +33 1 48 74 69 25 

DEETS: bur­lesque, Edit Piaf

INSTAGRAM: @lanouvelleeve

Cabaret Silvano Jo

Sil­vano Jo per­forms one-man (one-drag queen?) shows in his atelier/living room in the trendy Canal St. Mar­tin neigh­bor­hood  (unless he is invit­ed by oth­er venues around the coun­try, which hap­pens more and more often these days). Accom­pa­nied by a mas­ter pianist, he takes his guests on a musi­cal jour­ney through time — over a cen­tu­ry of  French (and Parisian) music. Called « All the women in my life », his show is a maybe a bit niche, but it’s every bit as cabaret‑y in terms of cos­tumes and tal­ent as the pre­vi­ous ones we’ve men­tioned. And here, you have din­ner with the show­man him­self! And, there’s no sit­ting in the nose­bleed sec­tion! VIP, indeed. 

If you want to expe­ri­ence a deep­er Paris, this is un-miss-ably cool. You’ll laugh, you’ll be impressed, you’ll eat some snacks with the Queen of the show! 

ADDRESS: Rue Legou­vé (10th arr.)

NEIGHBORHOOD: Canal St. Martin

METRO: Jacques Bors­en­gent (line 5)

HOW TO BOOK: through Airbnb

SEXY FACTOR: 4/10

DEETS: niche, drag, one-man show, brunch show, authen­ti­cal­ly Parisian

INSTAGRAM: @silvanojocabaret

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