Saturday, September 24, 2011

le Café de l'Enfer

[Photograph by Eugène Atget. Via]

I stumbled across images of this incredible building recently, and just had to find out more.

According to the National Geographic archive:

"A hot spot called Hell's Café lured 19th-century Parisians to the city's Montmartre neighborhood—like the Marais—on the Right Bank of the Seine. With plaster lost souls writhing on its walls and a bug-eyed devil's head for a front door, le Café de l'Enfer may have been one of the world's first theme restaurants. According to one 1899 visitor, the café's doorman—in a Satan suit—welcomed diners with the greeting, "Enter and be damned!" Hell's waiters also dressed as devils. An order for three black coffees spiked with cognac was shrieked back to the kitchen as: "Three seething bumpers of molten sins, with a dash of brimstone intensifier!""

Both the interior and exterior walls were covered in the twisting bodies of the damned. I love the graphic, textured nature of these surfaces. It reminds me of the 'hallway of hands' motif I have been obsessing over in the last few posts, but taking it to the next level.

[Photograph by H. C. Ellis. Via]


Even the menu was sinister, outlining its "diabolical attractions" with flare:


The giant fanged doorway-mouth also reminds me of the entrance to the Tim Burton exhibit I visited last year.



Walking through those sharp teeth was so exciting. I wish Hell's Cafe was still around.

You can find more pics of the hellish hotspot here, including the 'heaven' cafe some joker set up next door.


  1. I'd be too scared to eat in there, or perhaps too distracted. I wonder what the 'heaven' cafe looks like?

  2. No doubt lots of clouds and harps... and very smug waiters.