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Maison Close Season 1

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Set in a lavish 19th Century Parisian bordello, the provocative and popular French erotic drama Maison Close invites American audiences into a sumptuous, stylized world where desire and power reign. Following the suppression of la Commune, a short-lived workers’ revolutionary movement in the 1870s, a cast of gorgeous women trapped by circumstances reside in “Paradise,” a top-rate “closed house” reserved for aristocratic or bourgeois clientele and known for its strange and refined practices during a time of legalized prostitution. Hortense (Valérie Karsenti) is the ruthless and manipulative madame who runs her business with an iron fist; Véra (Anne Charrier) is the stunning star courtesan in her 30s nearing the end of her career; and country ingénue Rose (Jemima West, Mortal Bones: The City of Instruments), arrives in search of her mother, only to be blackmailed into becoming a prostitute. By turns both erotic and political, this uncompromising, finely crafted television series is the perfect mix of style and substance, a richly compelling period drama with unmistakably modern flair that reimagines age-old themes–and the world’s oldest profession–in bold new ways.

Reactions, Awards & Festivals


The Guardian

“Would make even a veteran of the 50 Shades of Grey series blush.”

The Times (UK)

“A racy new French thriller.”

The Observer

“Brilliant. Challenging, thoughtful and above all truly entertaining. A show the HBO would be proud to have on its schedules.

Box Office Buz

Cast & Crew
  • Hortense : Valérie Karsenti
  • Véra : Anne Charrier
  • Rose : Jemima West
  • Marguerite : Catherine Hosmalin
  • Gaillac : Nicolas Briançon
  • Mosca : Michael Cohen
  • Angèle : Blandine Bellavoir
  • Bertha : Deborah Grall
  • Valentine : Clemence Bretecher
  • Kertel : Michael Abiteboul
  • Pauline : Fatou N'Diaye
  • Bak : Martin Loizilon
  • Jeanne : Lubna Gourion
  • Creator : Jacques Ouaniche
  • Series Producers : Jacques Ouaniche, Grégory Ouaniche, Adrian Politowski, Gilles Waterkeyn
  • Series Cinematography : Pierre-Yves Bastard
  • Series Art Direction : Paulo Routier
  • Series Music : Gast Waltzing & Alain Pewzner
Technical Info
  • Production Year : 2010 & 2013
  • Release Date : October 26, 2010
  • Countries of Production : France
  • Languages : French
  • Running Time : 16 hours (Total)
  • Screen Ratio : 16x9
  • Sound : Stereo
  • Color : Color
  • Rating : Not Rated
DVD/Blu-Ray Special Features

2-Disc Blu-Ray Set

3-Disc DVD Set

Collector’s Booklet including photos and essays

  • SEASON 1 :
  • :
  • EPISODE 1 : Paris, 1871. Vera, the star attraction of the The Paradise luxury brothel, is about to finally leave the institution to become the live-in mistress of the Baron Du Plessis. However, The Paradise owes money to a dangerous debt collector named Lupin, and its madam, Hortense Gaillac, is willing to resort to absolutely anything to keep her. Meanwhile Rose, a pretty young woman engaged to be married, arrives at The Paradise” in search of her mother and Hortense sees an opportunity to revive the business...
  • :
  • EPISODE 2 : Forced into service at The Paradise, Rose manages to escape before being tracked down by the police. After one of the girls is assaulted, Véra organizes a strike in protest, causing a strain on the brothel’s finances. In response, Hortense decides to sell Rose’s chastity to the highest bidder. As things are heating up, Hortense’s despised brother, Pierre Gaillac, arrives from the colonies to take over the business.
  • :
  • EPISODE 3 : Hortense’s detestable brother Pierre, recently arrived in France, quickly resolves the strike organized by the ladies of The Paradise. But the calm in the storm is only temporary. Now back to work, Rose finds herself struggling to adjust to her new life. Meanwhile, Véra notices that Angéle is wearing jewelry that had previously belonged to her late lover. Suspicious, she goes to the police to report it.
  • :
  • EPISODE 4 : Hortense must defend against the machinations of Pierre, who wants to leverage the Paradise for his own gains. A police investigation is launched in response to Véra’s claims and two girls are arrested. One day, Rose finds a photo of her mother in the house archives, and it is suggested that her mother and Hortense once shared a close personal relationship.
  • :
  • EPISODE 5 : Pierre continues to use The Paradise to serve his own purposes, inviting many wealthy clients on his own accord. Hortense is furious and attempts to spite him by keeping the ladies locked in their rooms. Rose, always in search of information about her mother, presses Hortense, who reveals her mother’s true identity.
  • :
  • EPISODE 6 : Angéle’s fiancée, Brise Caboche, is desperate to obtain her freedom and blackmails Hortense, who has no choice but to ask her brother for money. However, he is not immediately willing to help a sister who shows public disdain for him. Meanwhile, Rose confides in Véra how she plans to escape The Paradise: seducing Pierre.
  • :
  • EPISODE 7 : Hortense wants to terminate Angéle’s pregnancy, but the other women band together to allow her to keep the baby. Believing her mother to have died at The Paradise, Rose seduces Pierre in an attempt to gain her freedom. But soon Pierre’s wife arrives at the brothel to confront her husband’s mistress, thinking it is Véra...
  • :
  • EPISODE 8 : Pierre will stop at nothing to save himself and begins to entertain the most outrageous customer requests. Hortense mounts a strong opposition, aided by Véra and Rose. Along the way, Rose finally discovers the truth about her mother…and her own past.