"Les Jambes Superbes"
Women in the Moulin Rouge & the Folies Bergère



1900 -1920

Visit also
Fairground performers
 Jules Richard Nudes & Culture Physique


Folies Bergére

The Folies Bergère opened in 1869 and became an important music hall. It showed operettas and pantomimes. Round 1890's the repertory also included vaudeville sketches, acrobats, ballets, and magicians. After the vogue of nudity in Parisian music halls (1894), the Folies Bergère showed sensational displays of women in scanty opulent costumes depicted in several of these images. Click for example

For a history about Cabaret go to the
- Theatres on Postcards - French Can Can - Serpentine Dance - Folies Bergère - Moulin Rouge - Le Lapin Agile - Mistinguett


.Actrices in Folies Bergére



More Peculiar Cabaret information on Visual Media can be found here:
Ghost Show Cabaret & Pepper's Ghost

Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge cabaret opened in October 1889 in Montmartre. A red windmill still dominates the front of the building. The most famous visitor was the painter Henri Toulouse Lautrec. It was here the
Parisian underworld met the upper class life of the priviledged.
Politicians, ambassadors and even the Prince of Wales came to mix with the courtesans, can-can women and performers. The Moulin Rouge became the home of the
Parisian underworld.

Moulin Rouge: Sur la croix à remarquer les jambes supérbes de la ballerine Mll. Denis

Le Nouveau Moulin Rouge Cinéma

Judging illustrations of women in Culture Physique magazines their world is related with the world of the cabaret and theatre, as seen on the cover of "La Culture Physique" on the right. Phot. Walery

Here we see
Mlle. Marcelle De Beaulieu, dans la Revue des Folies-Bergères.
Further the text says: "Un beau type de plastique Féminine" which illustrate the Physical Culture connection.

The same kind of images seen on the well known and collectable Vaudeville postcards, depicting vaudeville actrices, are often seen on the cover and inside these physical culture magazines. For example Otero, Cléo de Mérode, Sarah Bernhardt, De Marsa, Trouhanova, Régina Badet, Sandrini, etc.

Obviously these illustrations are done by the same photographers, e.g.
Walery, Reutlinger, etc. The three postcards above show typical cabaret artists in their splendid suit.

Physical Culture for men mainly goes about strenght. However in case of women
beauty becomes much more important!
An article in "La Culture Physique" "
La Femme, La Beauté du Visage" tells about the importance of the beauty of a woman,'s face. Four close-ups of beautiful women Illustrate the article on the right with cover photograph of De Marsa, Mlle. X, Guerrero and Cléo de Mérode. The latter two portraits are illustrated above.

Une figurante & Bella Serrana

The women in these cabaret's were often dressed in scanty opulent costumes as seen in the detail left. Eugen Sandow, the famous body builder, frequented these cabaret's where he met "La belle Otero". Other famous performers were Bella Serrana seen in the left image and Sarah Bernhardt, Illegitimate child of a courtisan.

The Vaudeville cabaret's in Paris programmed Light entertainment on their stage, including magicians, acrobats, comedians, singers, strong men and dancers. Famous dances were the
French Can Can & the Cake Walk.

These vintage stereo images are in vast contrast to the more common & elaborate Vaudeville postcards of variete artists. Often, the stereo photographs depict the poverty behind the scenes, visible in the old detoriorated furniture, accessories, clothes & tissues.
Stereo photography was still very popular at that time. In one of the images, a brewster type stereoscope is seen on a table in a dressing room next to the
scanty dressed dancer.
Unfortunately, all these historical important and intriguing images are made by an anonymous photographer.

Stereoscopes & stereo photographs were widespread and many of these images are made by amateur photographers.

The viewer in this image looks more the cheaper model of the Brewster hand-held stereoscope.

Click See some cabaret performers on Television
..Actrice in Folies Bergére

Actrice in Moulin Rouge.


Mll. Denis
Danseuse de Paris et Folies Bergère

Made with a Vérascope Richard stereo camera

In the Folies Bergère

ille des Folies Bergère

ille des Folies Bergère

ille des Folies Bergère

Christine Kerf

Leo Syda

Anonymous woman
The background displays cylinder printed wallpaper by Leroy à Paris.

'Le papier peint autour de 1900: Usage et diffusion de l' esthétique Art Nouveau en Europe dans le décor intérieur' fig. 1342 & 1343
By Jérémie Cerman

Anonymous women

Anonymous woman

Anonymous women

Jane Merville


Actrice with suits and a Brewster type Stereoscope on the table left

Bella Serrana et une figurante

In the Folies Bergére

In the Folies Bergére

Anonymous woman

Clémence de Pibrac (Clémence Procureur) 1869 - 1938
..Actrice in Folies Bergére

Actrices in Folies Bergére

thomas wynants