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By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline. With clients that included princes, artists and a future King of England, these are the women who ruled Paris from their bed. Fascinating pictures reveal the prostitutes who featured in 'The Pretty Women of Paris' - the nineteenth century directory for the French capital's best courtesans and brothels.
Published in and limited to copies, the notorious guide listed the names of the city's most famous scarlet women - along with their addresses, qualities and faults. All of these women featured in an booklet entitled Pretty Women Of Paris, which served as a guide to the city's prostitutes for visiting English gentlemen. Valtesse is one of the most handsome and clever of the whores of our time,' it says. Prostitution became legal in France in under Napoleon, who ordered that all sex workers had to register and submit to fortnightly health checks.
Pictured left and right is Cora Pearl, a British-born prostitute. The guide says 'she was once served up naked, with a sprinkling of parsley, upon an enormous dish borne by four men'. Cora dressed creatively, with the intent to provoke either shock or awe, and dyed her hair with bold colours. She was once seen riding out in her carriage, her hair dyed to match the carriage's yellow satin interior.
By there were officially brothels in Paris alone, although the true number was likely far higher. Alice was an acting prodigy and was rushed onto the stage by her parents when she was 18 years old. By law French brothels had to be run by a woman, typically a former prostitute.
The handbook - which was aimed at visiting English gentlemen in Paris - meticulously described the sexual specialities and background of every prostitute. Under Napoleon, prostitution became legal in France and the booklet arranges the various courtesans in Paris by district for ease for the potential customer. The collection also includes British-born Cora Pearl, who was based at 6 Rue Christophe Colomb and is described in the handbook as being 'One of the most celebrated whores of her time'.