Musee de l'Erotisme and Pigalle, Paris, France Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Musee de l'Erotisme and Pigalle, Paris, France

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Things to do in Paris | Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie | The Métropolitain | Musée de l'Erotisme and Pigalle | Musée d'Orsay
The Palace of Versailles | Père-Lachaise Cemetery | Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre | Saint-Ouen Flea Market

The Musée de l'Erotisme is located in the middle of the Pigalle district, not far from the Moulin Rouge.

How to get there

The nearest métro stop is Blanche, but if you go after dark and get off at Pigalle you have the experience of walking through the red light district in full swing. Here, sex shows, sex shops and prostitutes clamour for your attention. Unlike London, they tend to have goods and photos on display in the windows, but beware of taking too much interest, as that is taken as an invitation to the touts to work twice as hard to get you into their shop. As a tourist, it is also wise to be careful in this area, as pickpockets tend to prey on rich foreigners who aren't quite sure where they are.

How to get in

The Museum is open every day from 10am to 2am. There are seven floors, including a basement, and all are well lit and well stocked with many different forms of erotic art. These include exhibits from many different cultures to show the way that people have depicted sex through the ages.

What you will find

The ground floor, first floor and basement contain mostly Asian, African and Latin American art. European art mostly consists of the sort of Ancient Greek urn where nothing is kept hidden or left to the imagination. There are also modern interactive and moving statues here. One is in the manner of the old fairground game, where you have to get the metal ring across a metal rod without ringing the bell. The difference is the metal rod is in the shape of a naked woman and the longer you succeed the more she moans. There is also a rather odd impression of a naked cyclist, whose undulating buttocks are strangely hypnotic.

The other four floors house temporary exhibitions and change every three months. Much of it is for sale, but take your credit card and a stiff drink, as they are far from cheap. Recent exhibits have included a floor devoted to the work of the American sexual humourist Robert Crumb, and a gallery of battery- and clockwork-powered sculptures on wire.


The museum shop is sadly rather lacking. It has many books and videos in French, some erotic jewellery and some more art, which is again priced out of the range of the casual tourist. Anyone expecting postcards of the art or the like will be disappointed.

Interesting Fact

The Chinese Emperor Hsiao-ching (156-141 BC) introduced the practice of having erotic murals painted on the walls of his living halls, and was thus regarded as the 'inventor' of Erotic Art.

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