For over half a century, a man known for his signature electric blue attire and a singular name, Michou, was the last bastion of Montmartre’s legendary nightlife.
Born Michel Georges Alfred Catty in Amiens in 1931, the man who would become Michou moved to Paris in the early 1950s. A jack of all trades, Michel sold magazines, made shoes, washed dishes and waited tables before taking over the reigns of 80 rue des Martyrs in 1956.
Adopting the name Michou, he would soon turn the Montmartre bar into a cabaret bearing his own name. An openly gay performer, Michou’s live transvestite renditions of Montmartre icons like Dalida and Edith Piaf quickly turned him into a local celebrity in the 1960s.
Over the course of the next two decades, Chez Michou became a local Montmartre institution. Its famed owner was regularly visited by both celebrities and politicians from across the spectrum. In the 1970s, Chez Michou became the inspiration for a film 1973 play La Cage aux Folles, which was later adapted in 1996 as The Birdcage. The same year Michou starred as himself in Claude Lelouch’s Happy New Year.
Michou’s trademark blonde bouffant hair, blue suit and bohemian spirt turned him into a nationally recognised figure. During the same decade—at the peace of his fame—Michou recorded his first album. Beginning with 1972’s Si tu f’sais du tandem avec moi; over the course of the next 40 years would release 14 albums.
In 2005, Jaques Chirac made Michou a knight in France’s prestigious Legion of Honour. Michou’s commitment to Parisian nightlife was documented in a film celebrating his life the same year. While other Montmartre cabarets came and went, Chez Michou endured, with its figurehead referring himself as the “last dinosaur of the night”.
As Chez Michou entered its 8th decade of enterprise, Michou himself would pass away in January of 2020. Leaving behind him an enduring legacy of a bohemian village he refused to give up on; the French government declared “the sky above Montmartre will be a little less blue from now on“.
Just as he fashioned his own part of modern Montmartre history; Michou was laid to rest in the private cemetery Saint-Vincent next to the Sacre-Coeur basilica.
Visiting Chez Michou
Chez Michou is in the heart of Montmartre, next to Anvers and Pigalle stations. It can be reached by metro line 2 or 12, or the bus 40.
For our guests, Chez Michou is a mere 5 minute walk away from our hostel. Michou’s final resting place, the famous Saint-Vincent cemetery is also a very short walk from our property.
Book with us now and you can discover Montmartre on your doorstep!