When we were in Paris in 2009 one of the most abiding images that I can remember was this:
It is an image that you see everywhere. You can get it on Posters (we have one in our hallway), Tea Towels, Christmas Tree Baubles, and just about every other tourist item you can think of. This is what Wikipedia says about it:
Le Chat Noir (French for "The Black Cat") was a 19th-century cabaret, meaning entertainment, in the bohemian Montmartre district of Paris. It was opened on 18 November 1881 at 84 Boulevard Rochechouart by the artist Rodolphe Salis, and closed in 1897 after Salis' death (much to the disappointment of Picasso and others who looked for it when they came to Paris for the Exposition in 1900). Its imitators have included cabarets from St. Petersburg (The Stray Dog) to Barcelona (Els Quatre Gats).
Perhaps best known now by its iconic Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen poster art, in its heyday it was a bustling nightclub — part artist salon, part rowdy music hall. The cabaret published its own journal Le Chat Noir. It began as a small, two room affair, but within three and a half years its popularity forced it to move into larger accommodations a few doors down. Salis most often played, with exaggerated, ironic politeness, the role of conférencier (post-performance lecturer, or Emcee). It was here that the Salon des Arts Incohérents (Salon of Incoherent Arts), the "shadow plays" and the comic monologues got their start.
According to Salis: "The Chat Noir is the most extraordinary cabaret in the world. You rub shoulders with the most famous men of Paris, meeting there with foreigners from every corner of the world."
Famous patrons of the Chat Noir included Adolphe Willette, Caran d'Ache, André Gill, Emile Cohl, Paul Bilhaud, Sarah England, Paul Verlaine, Henri Rivière, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Charles Cros, Jules Laforgue, Charles Moréas, Albert Samain, Louis Le Cardonnel, Coquelin Cadet, Emile Goudeau, Alphonse Allais, Maurice Rollinat, Maurice Donnay, Marie Krysinska, Jane Avril, Armand Masson, Aristide Bruant, Théodore Botrel, Paul Signac, Yvette Guilbert, August Strindberg, and George Auriol.
Anyway, after a recent trip to Ramsgate we returned with our own Chat Noir (Black Cat). His name is Mr Pusskins. I have tried to get him to pose like the cat in the poster above, but to no avail. This is the best I can do:
The little bald patch on his paw is from the injection he had yesterday for his little boy operation!!!
He is very cute and we love him very much, we are indebted to Becca, Tom, Emilie and Harriet for giving him to us.
This is a slightly scary picture of him:
Now you can see why 'Cat's Eyes' are so effective on our roads.