Thursday, July 28, 2011


Katmandou ad

Location: 21, rue du Vieux-Colombier, Paris, France

Opened: December 1969

Closed: 1990s

The translation is a bit creaky, but this is how the opening of Katmandou was announced back in the day:

December 2, 1969 Elul Perrin will open with Aimee Mori "The Kathmandu" at 21 rue du Vieux Colombier.  From the outset, the lesbian club will stand out from other institutions for girls. First, it is exclusively women and men can, in principle, to enter. Next, Kathmandu is a fashionable club and to the ranks of the boy antique male costume of the other clubs. Here the girls are young, modern, in a miniskirt or shorts. They dance the jerk or twist the mind and more free of hippies as their mothers. Finally, if women are queens, they are not exclusively homosexual....Elul Perrine is not only a great figure of the night Paris but also a lesbian activist force.

Nadine Cattan tells us the rest of the story--in better English, thankfully!-- in her article on "Virtual networks and emphemeral centralities for lesbians in Paris:"

The recent history of lesbian places in Paris can be dated back to the opening of a women-only night-club in the early 1970s, the Katmandou, which was managed by Elula Perrin and Aimee Mori, and dominated lesbian nightlife until the 1990s. The exclusion of men, though never strictly enforced, allowed for a degree of lesbian visibility. Located on the Left Bank, close to the famous night-clubs of the 1960s such as Chez Regine and Chez Castel, it was a sophisticated place, patronized by relatively well-heeled women and celebrities, whether lesbian or not: the place was therefore quite exclusive socially. Despite spotless management, as the police itself was forced to acknowledge, the club was harassed by neighbours who found the presence of a lesbian night-club at the foot of their building unacceptable. New occupants of the building in the 1990s became even more hostile, and managed to have the place shut down by complaining of the "noise" (according to Elula Perrin, these new neighbours were close to political spheres of power). "Parents can now let their little darlings walk past the 21 rue du Vieux-Colombier, it has become a luxury leather goods shop. Middle class, sleep soundly (Perrin, 2000, p. 193).

Advertisement for Katmandou

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