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A Pre-War Paris Lesbian Nightclub

Exterior entrance to the former Le Monocle nightclub. Photo by anonymous (date unknown).
Exterior entrance to the former Le Monocle nightclub. Photo by anonymous (date unknown).

For those of you familiar with Paris, you know that the Left Bank is considered more cutting edge today than the Right Bank. If you lived in Paris during the 1920s and the 1930s, the avant-garde scene would have been on the Right Bank. In particular, the Montmartre and the Pigalle districts (18e) were heavily populated with artists, bohemians, and a strong gay community. However, the Left Bank was home to the first and most popular lesbian nightclub in Paris. Located at 60, Boulevard Edgar Quinet in the Montparnasse (14e) district, Le Monocle opened its doors in the 1920s. Our story today isn’t so much about the nightclub as it is one of its most infamous patrons.


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Lulu and Tuxedos

Young invert at Le Monocle, 1932 (it is believed to be a photo of Lulu). Photo by George Brassaï (c. 1932).
Young invert at Le Monocle, 1932 (it is believed to be a photo of Lulu). Photo by George Brassaï (c. 1932).

The first owner of Le Monocle was Lulu. She set the style of dress for the club over the next twenty years. Lulu’s club attracted women who liked to dress up in tuxedos (and men’s suits), cut their hair short, and for added effect, wear monocles (ergo, the name of the club). In fact, women would wear a monocle in public to announce their sexual orientation.

The nightclub was shut down in 1940 after the Germans invaded France. Gay men and women were targeted by the Nazis for detention, deportation, and ultimately, elimination. The building where the club was located is still in existence. You enter through the original entrance which is shaped in a circle–it was meant to imitate a monocle. I’m not too sure what is behind the doors, as the exterior needs a lot of paint. But the awning still advertises a bar and café. I think it’s still called Le Monocle but Sandy and I will stop by on our next trip to Paris and see what happens. Read More A Pre-War Paris Lesbian Nightclub

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Jean de Lattre de Tassigny – A Forgotten Hero of France

Stew’s Introduction

General Jean de Lattre de Tassingny. Photo by Willem van de Poll (c. 1946). Nationaal Archief. PD-CCA – Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.
General Jean de Lattre de Tassingny. Photo by Willem van de Poll (c. 1946). Nationaal Archief. PD-CCA – Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

I’m very pleased to have Jeff Koch as our guest blogger today. Jeff’s title about a forgotten hero is very true. However, the number of memorials and streets named in honor of Jean de Lattre de Tassigny throughout France keeps his name in the eye of the public. The problem is the majority of the population probably doesn’t know anything about his accomplishments. Until Jeff introduced me to General de Lattre de Tassigny, I had never heard of him. He’s not someone who shows up in the books I read as part of my research on the new book (Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters? A Walking Tour of Nazi Occupied Paris). As I did some preliminary reading on the general, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many decorations bestowed on anyone as General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. As you’ll see, he was one of the most beloved French military leaders of both world wars.

Meet Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

“An optimist is a man who plants two acorns and buys a hammock” – Jean de Lattre de Tassigny Read More Jean de Lattre de Tassigny – A Forgotten Hero of France