New Memoir Reveals Details of Exclusive Paris Swingers’ Club

A firsthand look at the history of Les Chandelles, courtesy of proprietor Valérie Hervo

The corner of a street in Paris at night with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background
Put Les Chandelles on your itinerary next time you're in Paris.
Grillot edouard/Unsplash

In 2006, writer Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni wrote a dispatch for The New York Times about her trip to Les Chandelles, a Paris swingers’ club that came highly recommended. Fraser-Cavassoni herself described it as “a kinky Bungalow 8, if you will.” Her account of her evening there included a description of a meal with the club’s owner, Valérie Hervo.

“Valérie could easily fit into Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. Her black hair was in a bob, and her makeup was dark and vampish,” Fraser-Cavassoni wrote. “That night, she was dressed in a black Blumarine dress that was cut low enough to reveal a heaving bosom and short enough to show her coltish legs all tricked up in stockings and garters.”

Fifteen years later, Hervo has written a candid book about her experiences operating Les Chandelles — including an account of barring a prominent British rock musician from entry into the club due to his casual dress. A new article by Matthew Campbell at Air Mail ventures into Hervo’s memoir, titled Les Dessous des Chandelles, or Inside Les Chandelles.

The article offers a distillation of the methods by which Hervo has run the club — including a strict dress code, a couples-only policy and a rule that couples were also required to exit the club at the same time.

Campbell also recounts his own visit to Les Chandelles in 2002, when he was told by one patron, “It’s not as if you are cheating on your husband, because he is standing there watching.” Based on these accounts, it’s not hard to see why Hervo’s memoir has piqued the interest of so many people.


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