19th Century Paris  in the Belle Époque

“Moulin Rouge” ignites the imagination and romantic hunger of the art-lover seeking to be part of 19th century Paris. This period in Paris was an exciting chapter in the history of art. It was during these times that the impressionist art movement emerged, and paved the way for modern art.

When I read this book many years ago, I fell in love and was intrigued by bohemian Montmarte. I loved reading about its Parisian cafes, the brothels, the seedy bars and nightclubs. And of course, I fell in love with the complex and sad life of Henri du Toulouse-Lautrec.

This book takes us from Toulouse- Latrec’s childhood to his premature death when only 36 years old and everything in between. His relationship with his parents, his friendships with other emerging artists and of course the life he lead in the seedy nightclubs.

Although the book is a fictional story about Toulouse-Lautrec, we feel like we are seeing and feeling what it could have been like in Paris in those times.

Montmartre and the Artists

Toulouse-Lautrec although brought up in aristocracy leaves his comfortable family life for bohemian Montmartre, a magnet for artists. I loved the name dropping of all the other artist’s of his time that are woven into this book. The author mentions Seurat, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and many others.

Seedy Nightclubs & Toulouse-Lautrec

He spent much of his time at the Moulin Rouge, a Paris nightclub in seedy Montmartre. The seductive dancers, prostitutes and other citizens of Paris nightlife accepted him in a way that polite society did not.

He repaid the favor with beautiful colorful paintings portraying the dancers, prostitutes and the Parisians in these clubs and cabarets.

Toulouse Lautrec [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In all spheres of life, he struggles to fit in because of his deformities. We feel his loneliness and emotional pain. Unfortunately, he takes companionship in any way he can but real love is never attained.

The book doesn’t mention it, but we know that he contracted symphillis from the prostitutes and suffered from that as well.

Toulouse Lautrec [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you didn’t already love Toulouse-Lautrec and his incredible talent, you will love him after reading this wonderful book by Pierre La Mure.

This book will make you cry and I assure you it will make you google all his paintings to admire is amazing art.

The Prostitutes of Montmartre
Toulouse Lautrec [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pierre La Mure’s 1950 novel about Toulouse-Lautrec and the Moulin Rouge, was made into a movie in 1952. José Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor starred in the movie. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Press here to read about the movie on Amazon.

To order this wonderful historical fiction book, press here


The nightlife in The Moulin Rouge
Toulouse Lautrec [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons