Candid Photographs Captured Prostitution Scenes in Paris in 1966

Prostitution in Paris, both street prostitution and prostitution from dedicated facilities has a long history but also its own modernity in the French capital. Prostitutes are mostly women but also include transgender people and men.


Of men born between 1920 and 1925, one in five had experienced his first sexual relationship in a maison-close. Paris accommodated many brothels until their prohibition in 1946 following the introduction of the Loi Marthe Richard. 195 establishments were then closed in Paris. Among the most famous are the One-Two-Two, Le Chabanais, Le Sphinx and La Fleur blanche.

From 1960, in the debates over prostitution in France, “abolition” was used to refer to both the abolition of laws and regulations that make any distinction between someone involved in prostitution and the general population, and the abolition of prostitution itself. At that time, police files on prostitutes were finally destroyed.

However, implementation varied considerably locally, although prostitution was rarely on the political agenda over the next 30 years. Exceptions were the demonstrations of prostitutes rights movements against police harassment in 1975, and periodic calls by individual politicians for re-opening the “maisons”.

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