It’s just a g-string’s throw away from the Moulin Rouge, and down the hill from Montmartre. La Musee d’Erotisme, or the Erotic Museum in plain English, is as much a part of Paris life and tradition as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. If you only ever visit one Sex Museum in your life, it really ought to be in Paris.
There is another reason for that too, apart from it seeming the natural thing to do in the French capital, the City of Light and the city of love, sex, romance and intrigue. The other reason is that the Erotic Museum isn’t sleazy or tacky. It is actually very tastefully done, very slick and modern, and absolutely fascinating.
In Paris there are museums devoted to magic, and to locks, to publicity, to wine, to children and to Edith Piaf. Why not have one devoted to sex and the erotic arts?
The Erotic Museum was opened in 1997 by Joseph Khalifa and two friends of his. They were all collectors of erotic art, and Khalifa had built up a large collection on his travels in Japan and the far east. By combining their collections and acquiring new material they were able to put on display over 1500 exhibits, spread across seven floors of a 19th-century town house.
Rather surprisingly there was no such museum in Paris at the time, and if any city ought to have an erotic museum, it’s Paris. Sex shows and strip shows might be taking place along the road and in the sleazy back streets of Pigalle, but the Erotic Museum is right on the main road and closer physically and in spirit to the great Moulin Rouge cabaret, just the other side of the Blanche metro station.