Paris is a super cool place. I don’t need to tell you that.
But why is it so cool? Is it the gorgeous boulevards, the pink magnolia trees, the iron balconies? Is it the effortless chic of French style, the endless boulangeries, the pretty coloured macarons?
Is it the fact that Paris is also super sexy?
Well, if I’m honest, it’s all of the above. But today I’m going to talk sex.
If you venture north of the river, the Right Bank, and head up and up, you reach Pigalle and Montmartre. The cool, edgy, artists’ haunt that is the hill-side leading up to Sacre Coeur. We’ve all seen Moulin Rouge – we know what went on, and goes on, up there. Simply walking from Pigalle metro to the Moulin Rouge is a pretty bizarre experience. Either side of the long, wide boulevard are lined with shops. All of these, minus a few kebab shops, are called things like ‘Sex Fun Shop‘, ‘Sex Emporium‘ and even the imaginatively named ‘Pussy’s‘, which I think it an evening club – if you know what I mean…
About three buildings down from the Moulin Rouge is the Paris Museum of Erotica, and to be honest, you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it. There’s a small sign hanging from the wall, amongst a million others, and they could do with a more eye-catching ‘store front’. It must be quite difficult getting noticed when every other store front is plastered with boobs and cheap latex.
So this is where we found ourselves on a gorgeously sunny Sunday morning. In darkened rooms looking at dicks. I’m going to be honest, I was a little disappointed.
I’ve seen photos of Amsterdam’s infamous sex museum and I’ve walked the streets of Pigalle, and I was expecting much of the same inside. And I was, on the most part, wrong. If anything I actually found the whole experience, all million floors of it, a little dull. Sure it was fun and weird, and Ollie is super British and found the whole thing an embarrassment start to finish, but it was lacking some show business. It could really have done with being sexed up a bit.
The museum, from what I could tell, works more like a history museum than anything else. It presents glass cases of phallic symbols and drawings from all over the world, from all cultural and historical backgrounds. I’d actually studied Japanese print pornography at uni last year (don’t even ask) so was kinda excited to see a few of them, next to some beautifully carved jade vaginas. On the other hand, that wasn’t really what I’d gone in to see.
I’d expected to be able to laugh and giggle my way around the museum, pointing at funny looking devices and generally having a fab time, but instead I spent a sunny morning looking at beautiful old sketches of naked women and occasionally pausing to watch some absolutely ancient, and somewhat comical, porn on the black and white TVs. Old school.
Would I bother going again? Nah. Would I suggest it to a friend visiting Paris? Nah. But not because it’s rubbish. It really isn’t bad, it was just far too serious and historical for me.
I wouldn’t recommend it because at €6-€10, depending on your student status, it just isn’t worth wasting a beautiful sunny day inside. It’s such a shame that they charge so much, compared to the rest of Paris which tends to be free from under 26s, because otherwise I’d nip in with people to give them a bit of a laugh while I was showing them the moulins of northern Paris. Alas, I’ll probably just be pointing inside and saying ‘oh yeah that’s the erotica museum. It’s cool but not really worth it.’
I hate giving negative reviews, but I think this is one of those places that just needs to be addressed. I think my pictures speak for themselves – there really isn’t a lot of cool things to photograph, and definitely not enough light to do it in.
For a better time I’d recommend Sex Emporium by Pigalle metro because it’s just massive and you’re bound to find something absolutely weird in there. Leave the museum for the sex historians (and people who just looooove wooden dicks).
Have you been to the Museum of Erotica?
Have you been to one anywhere else?