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Final curtain falls at legendary Paris cabaret club Chez Michou

Michou and a performance at Chez Michou
Michou and a performance at Chez Michou Copyright Chez Michou
Copyright Chez Michou
By Garfield Myrie
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Death of flamboyant owner Michel Catty spelled the end for the Montmartre institution that’s entertained audiences from across the world for more than half-a-century.


Chez Michou, the risqué Paris cabaret club that inspired the 1978 French film, La Cage aux Folles (which was remade in the US in 1996 as The Birdcage), has closed its doors after 68 years.

Clients at the Montmartre institution, which brought drag entertainment to France in the 1950s, included the likes of Pablo Picasso Toulouse-Lautrec, Claude Manet, Liza Minnelli, and France's First Lady Brigitte Macron.

Now, it's reported that a liquidator will be in charge of finding new owners.

Despite the renewed popularity of drag acts around the world, the small nightclub has not been able to pull in crowds since the death of its founder Michou (real name Michel Catty) as his inimitable style has not been matched.

An instantly recognisable figure and one of Paris’ most famous gay performers, Michou, who was himself a drag artist, would invariably dress in his ‘uniform’ of blue suits teamed with chunky statement glasses.

The Paris cabaret club inspired the 1978 French film La Cage aux Folles
The Paris cabaret club inspired the 1978 French film La Cage aux FollesUnited Artists
The Birdcage
The BirdcageUnited Artists

French icon

The Élysée Palace issued a statement on Michou's death saying: “The sky above Montmartre will be a little less blue from now on.”

Chez Michou performer channels Cher
Chez Michou performer channels CherChez Michou

Although his niece Catherine Catty-Jacquart took over the running of the club after Michou’s death, changing times and an inability to take advantage of the revival of interest in drag shows spelled the end for Chez Michou.

Madame Arthur, a rival cabaret club on the same Rue des Martyrs street as Chez Michou, has been reaping the rewards of Chez Michou’s demise with its innovative programme that appeals to younger, fashionable audiences.

Additional sources • Chez Michou

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