Updated: Oct 5, 2019
One of the things I enjoy about writing historical fiction is the research required. I’m astounded by the small details. The facts that aren’t mentioned in history books. When I come across something unusual, I try to incorporate it into my novel.
As an example, I searched the web for cabarets in Paris in 1890 and a found many amazing places, but three cabarets fascinated me, Café Du Néant (Café of Nothingness), Caberet des Truands (Cabaret of Mobsters) and Cabaret de l'Enfer ("The Cabaret of the Inferno"). I incorporated a version of these cabarets into my story. In my novel, I call it Hell Cabaret and wrote an entire chapter about my protagonist, Lola La Fontaine, and her encounter in Hell. I based Lola’s experience on the descriptions in their 1899 book Bohemian Paris of To-Day by William Chambers Morrow and Édouard Cucuel.
At this gothic nightspot, visitors pondered their own mortality as they drank on coffins and were served libations (named after diseases) by monks and funeral attendees.
Large, heavy wooden coffins, resting on biers, were ranged about the room in order suggesting the recent happening of a frightful catastrophe. The walls were decorated with skulls and bones, skeletons in grotesque attitudes, battle-picture and guillotines in action. Death, carnages, assassinations were the dominant note, set in black hangings and illuminated with mottoes on death.
Below are photos of these creepy clubs.
In my next blog, you’ll be invited to a dinner party hosted by Toulouse-Lautrec.