Iconic Paris cabaret closes its doors

Paris cabaret Chez Michou has announced its closure for financial reasons, bringing an end to a risqué venue in the French capital's nightlife that inspired a Hollywood film, AFP reports.

After 68 years in the burlesque business, the July 7 performance will be the last, the cabaret's managers wrote on social media.

"As of July 16, 2024, a liquidator will be appointed with the task of finding a buyer for our establishment," they added.

The cabaret, run by Paris nightlife icon Michaux until his death in 2020, introduced drag entertainment to France in the mid-1950s when it put on shows featuring men caricaturing famous women of the time.

Despite being the smallest cabaret in the capital, the tiny venue in the northern Montmartre district rivals the larger and more conventional Moulin Rouge, Lido and Crazy Horse.

Micheaux's all-blue outfit, thick dark glasses - his real name is Michel Cathy - and his "Michettes" inspired the 1978 hit French comedy film La Cage aux Folles.

The film was later remade in Hollywood as The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams.

However, the future of the cabaret was in doubt even before its closure was announced.

On June 29, Mishaw's niece Catherine Kathy-Jacquart said she did not know if the cabaret would reopen in September.

"We are living day to day," she said, as the venue lacked bookings in July despite the Olympics.

Kathy-Jacquart blamed strikes, protests, parking problems and the effects of the pandemic for the venue's financial difficulties.

Chez Michou employs 23 people, including contractors and staff in the dining room, kitchen and front desk.

In recent years, drag shows have experienced a resurgence thanks to venues like the nearby Madame Arthur, which have managed to attract a young and trendy crowd. | BGNES