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Folie Bergère

Have an evening at Folies Bergère, the parisian music-hall !

The well know french cabaret music hall is located in Paris 9th Arrondissement. It was built as an opera house by the architect Plumeret. It opened in 1869 as the Folies Trévise and including operettes, comic opera. It became Folies Bergère on September 1872. Folies Bergère was  at the height of its fame during  1890s’ Belle Époque through the 1920s’ Années folles.

The success of Folies Bergère came in 1886, when Édouard Marchand conceived a new genre of entertainment : the music-hall review. From that time women would be the heart of Marchand’s concept for the Folies. Édouard Marchand launched the careers of many stars. Some of them are : Maurice Chevalier, Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Fernadel …

In 1906 Édouard Marchand became ill. In 1918 we entered in Paul Derval era.  In 1936, Derval brought Josephine Baker from New York to lead the review  Super Folies. Michel Gyarmathy, a young Hungarian just arrive in Paris, designed the poster for En Super Folies, a show starring Josephine Baker in 1936. This began a long love story between Michel Gyarmathy, Paris, the Folies Bergère and the public of the whole world which lasted 56 years. Paul Derval died in 1966. He was 86 and had reigned supreme over the most celebrated music hall in the world. His wife Antonia, supported by Michel Gyarmathy, succeeded him. In August 1974, the Folies Antonia Derval passed on the direction of the business to Hélène Martini, the empress of the night (25 years earlier she had been a showgirl in the revues). This new mistress of the house reverted to the original concept to maintain the continued existence of the last music hall which remained faithful to the tradition.

If you go there be indulgent with the seat, this is an old place and this is nice they have preserved all vintage things.

Josephine Baker :

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker in a banana skirt from the Folies Bergère production Un Vent de Folie.


Take two minutes to speak about the incredible Josephine Baker. Born in June 3, 1906 she was an American-born French dancer, singer, and actress.

She came in France an start her success with “La Revue Nègre” on October 2, 1925, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Her erotic dancing became an instant success. She appearing practically nude on stage ! She became to be known in various circles as the “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus” and even the “Creole Goddess”. After a successful tour of Europe she broke her contract and star with Folies Bergère production Un Vent de Folie. She performed the Danse sauvage, wearing a costume consisting of a skirt made of a string of artificial bananas.  Her success coincided with the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs.

She was a french resistant during ww2 and she was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States in 1968, following Martin Luther King.

Ernest Hemingway called her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”

Josephine Baker in a banana skirt from the Folies Bergère production Un Vent de Folie.

Did you know  ?

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, the well-know Édouard Manet’s painting :

Édouard Manet painted A Bar at the Folies-Bergère on 1886. Lot of critics accusing Manet of ignorance of perspective. And this is one most interesting part of this painting. The reflect of the man help to be closer of the woman, as if we are at the bar and in same time have information and pictural description of the atmosphere. From a photographic point of view it’s possible and very interesting. May be the Édouard Manet contemporary critics didn’t have the photographic culture that increase very fast during this period. Two year later, in July 1888 Eastman’s Kodak camera went on the market with the slogan “You press the button, we do the rest” with roll film. So we can consider  true the fact photography and new perspective available were still already in the painter culture with contemporary glass negative tectonics.

The woman at the bar is a real person, known as Suzon, who worked at the Folies-Bergère in the early 1880s. Suzon was a demimonde or demimondaines person. May be it’s can help to understand the sadness she have in the eye. The high society of the man is clearly painted with his hat.

This famous painting is still part of our contemporary life, film or other artists make often reference. Here is the video clip of  Emily Loizeau, “Sister” where you can see a big reference at The Bar of the Folies-Bergère.

The Bar at the Folies-Bergère-Édouard Manet


News and event at Folies Bergère :

Folies Bergère official website here !

Folie Bergère virtual visite on the official website here !

Want to reserve ?

  • reserve online here
  • directly 32, rue Richer 75009 Paris , from monday to friday 10 am to 6pm ( and saturday & sunday if there is events)

How to go there ?

  • using a taxi, ask the adress : 32 rue Richer, Paris 9th Arrondissement ( 75009)
  • using a métro, closest stations are :
    • Cadet
    • Grands Boulevards

Foiles Bergère map