Cabaret de l’Enfer (“The Cabaret of the Inferno”), a Satanically themed nightclub in Montmartre, it was perhaps the trippiest hangout of La Belle Époque
“Enter and be damned, the Evil One awaits you!” growled a chorus of rough voices as we hesitated before the scene confronting us. Near us was suspended a caldron over a fire, and hopping within it were half a dozen devil musicians, male and female, playing a selection from “Faust” on stringed instruments, while red imps stood by, prodding with red-hot irons those who lagged in their performance.
Crevices in the walls of this room ran with streams of molten gold and silver, and here and there were caverns lit up by smouldering fires from which thick smoke issued, and vapors emitting the odors of a volcano. Flames would suddenly burst from clefts in the rocks, and thunder rolled through the caverns. Red imps were everywhere, darting about noiselessly, some carrying beverages for the thirsty lost souls, others stirring the fires or turning somersaults. Everything was in a high state of motion.
Once inside, the revelers witnessed a snake transform into a devil, were heckled by Satan, and were warned repeatedly of the scalding temperature. (To quote Morrow, “In spite of the half-molten condition of the rock-walls, the room was disagreeably chilly.”)