-----> Le Chat Noir, Past & Present

Le Chat Noir from Montmartre, 1881-1897
to Friendship Heights, 2005


The Belle Époque and the Art Nouveau movement initiated the search of pleasure and beauty as a lifestyle. It was a time of going against the traditional and towards the sensational.

The Chat Noir, was one of the first avant-garde cabarets to open its doors in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in 1881 - the first time a place mixed people from all social classes in their common search of having a good time. It was a place where the aristocracy and common people could eat, drink, talk, listen to music and come and go as they wished. A place where all artistic forms collaborated and a convivial setting where even the well-known street performer could express himself. This was a place where pleasure seekers discovered each other.

The anecdote goes that Rodolphe Salis, the owner of the cabaret, found a black cat on the sidewalk in front of the cabaret during its construction, and hence its name.

It is during this period of searching for a new aesthetic that Art Nouveau appeared, banishing the distinction between fine art and decorative art. Art Nouveau is the result of all art forms comprised essentially from natural resources such as glass, iron, rocks, and contains strong symbolic motifs inspired by nature. Art Nouveau is best characterised by its uniqueness and functionality.

Le Chat Noir Restaurant opened its door in 2005 in the Friendship Heights neighborhood. Sam & Marie intended to share their experience in the hospitality and restaurant business as well as their love for Art Nouveau, offering delicious meals in a bistrot-style environment and hoping to develop a charming ambiance that could become a modern homage to the joyful spirit of the Belle Époque.

Click here to see pictures.