Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Friday, February 25, 2022

Cafe de Paris: One of the Hottest Night Clubs of London

The Cafe de Paris opened in 1924 and was a swanky club in London for food, dancing, music, and drinks for decades. Big bands, famous singers, cabaret dancing, every night was designed with the partying patron in mind.

Headlining the evening's entertainment were some of the biggest stars, like Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich. Famous American dancer Louise Brooks danced on stage for season. It wasn’t unusual to have a Royal sighting or two since it was a favorite of the princes in the 1920s and 30s--and they may in fact have learned the Charleston while spending a night out on town at the club Even the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret made their way to the club, with Prince Philip who was a fan of the hot spot.

Check out this video for a little view inside the club in1929.

In the 1920s the club was a favorite spot for Fred Astaire and his sister Adele (which you will see in my forthcoming 2023 novel THE OTHER ASTAIRE). Nancy Mitford, one of the Bright Young Things spent plenty of time at the club as well with her friends (which again, you will see in my forthcoming novel THE MAYFAIR BOOKSHOP).

During WWII because the ballroom was below ground people still felt safe living it up when London was under attack (with constant daily bombings they needed to let off steam!) The club management lowered the prices so the club could be enjoyed by more people, including uniformed service members home on leave and needing to blow off steam.

However they weren’t as safe as they thought. The club was destroyed in 1941 when two bombs fell down the ventilation shaft and blew out the basement ballroom, killing dozens—including the musician playing that night, Snakehips—and injuring even more.

The club remained closed for the duration of the war, opening only after heavy renovations and rebuilding in 1948, as did most of London. 

Sadly it closed in late 2020 due to the pandemic and announced they would not be reopening.

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