His name’s Blandine when he’s dressed as a girl. But now it’s Bruno who observes us through the half-open door. A majordomo wearing gloves, upright and made up; this servant invites us in. He has been informed : we have come to see his mistress.
Mistress Françoise is a dominatrix and author who, has been handling her whip since the nineties, behind the doors of her Parisian dungeon. Between these walls, wax can become an instrument of pain or pleasure. Or both, if its reputation is to be upheld. Satisfied with her surroundings, the Dominatrix has agreed to show us around her property. Facing a row of high-heeled shoes, size 39 to size 46, the guided tour begins
After you. when and how did you start to dominate ?
Around 20 years ago. At first it was film that led me to domination. Certain images unleash things in us. My mind has retained scenes of women whipped on the masts of boats, or being spanked,_ that disturbed me enormously_ Later it was painting: the Death of Sardanapale by Delacroix, Rubens and the Sabines…The impressions these works made on me led me to a place somewhere between domination and masochism. I take objection to the word “sadomasochism” because whilst there is violence in eroticism, “sadist” defines violence without consent.
So you only practice “violence with consent” ?
Yes, even if there are people who want to go further. They often ring me up to find out if I’ll agree to castrate them, so for a laugh I say yes : that I’ll cut off their dick or their balls. Generally, they’re stunned, and I can sense their worry on the other end of the line. Especially when I tell them that with the odd accident here and there, I’ve ended up burying a dozen of them in the garden! Then they hang up immediately. They’re men who just want me to insult them over the phone.
It seems to fair to say that this is a pretty well-equipped dungeon. how did you start up ?
In the nineties I was on the Minitel: 3615 Aline, then 3615 Domina and 3615 Sado. I used to write provocative, funny texts… I was actually what we’d call a blogger. One day I was on the television, on one of Dechavanne’s show. Then things really took off and the 3615 Sado proposed that I write for them. At that time I was enthusiastic about the idea; so I said yes. Quickly I became the owner of my own accounts, like 3615 Fetishist. But I realized that 3615 Sado was trying to skim away some of my business for themselves. They stole from me like bastards, and the more visitors I had, the more they stole! So I opened others, 3615… At that time, the Minitel was bringing in so much money that I managed to earn a lot and began to invest in this place.
What was your first piece of equipment ?
Bruno/Blandine Blandine (pointing at a row of dildos) Oh! Them! Mistress Françoise: Tell me, is it you or I answering the questions? Well. At first clients provided me with the gear over the course of our sessions ; for example I met Anne Boleyn — a man who took himself for the queen of England Anne Boleyn — whose head was cut off. Since it is not a very common fantasy, he had to come with his own equipment among which was a fake cardboard axe. This bondage table on which I am sitting was given to me. If the Mistress is good they’ll give you the equipment. The main thing is that you have to have enough room.
On which note, here you have divided the space into three rooms of very different colors.
It corresponds to the major fantasies : first the medical surgery with its strait jacket and everything you need to play a doctor. Here, where we’re standing is all the “hard” stuff. And at the back over there, there’s the room for cross-dressing with the make up and the outfits: the most common fantasy is wanting to be a woman.
Among all these instruments designed for pain, there’s nothing but leather, metal and wood. whilst dildos are more and more fluorescent, it looks like you, on the other hand, prefer an old fashioned, perhaps even medieval aesthetic ?
Whatever the color of the dildo, pink or black, the feeling is the same! Sex- shops have to sell things; they renew the range of products. But leather, neutral colors: those make your head work. That’s why I always wear black latex. Or I dress like a soldier.
You also have ways of tying people up ?
Yes. There was a man who had the fantasy of being a galley slave. The only place where you could find replicas of galley slave handcuffs was in London, in a shop whose owners were homosexual actors: they made everything on their own for a little circle of customers. Those handcuffs are certified copies. Bruno, bring the handcuffs down. And this windlass is also made to measure, to hang by the feet. As long as he’s thirty years old, in good health, and in good shape (I don’t take any risks when someone’s head is going to be upside down)
And what’s that ?
It’s a stake: you tie the ankles and it goes up… Well, it’s just a stake !
How do you use the wax ?
I drip it in certain places: on the balls, the dick, it’s not dangerous. If you let it drip from very close, then it burns more of course. I use dinner candles at home, but not during a session. In reality they make a mess, so I keep the games with candles for those who do the cleaning afterwards. There’s nothing unpleasant about it, on the contrary, it is just that you put a little near…I think having a burn made by wax is almost similar to the fantasy of being branded: that is medieval too.
Is it a fashionable fantasy ?
It is not at all in fashion except perhaps for those hankering after 50 shades of grey. In my humble opinion being branded is a wish to belong and to fuse. Maybe in a hidden way, the desire to be imbricated, in one another . Like a burn which once healed would take away part of the other, towards a state of androgyny. That reminds me of Plato’s myth of the androgynous: the little creatures with four legs and four arms who were cut in two by Zeus, because they were too strong, and who, from then on, were condemned to search for their missing halves.
So where does this fantasy come from ?
The game of wax looks like torture without being torture. It is a sensorial game which stages the spectacular appearance of torture but is not torture. Isn’t it a symbol of cauterization of the wounds of life that masochists try to cure in this way? So the branding would perhaps be like a seal on the contract of belonging, without that being explicitly evoked. I don’t have any references but I feel it’s something like that
During your sessions what do you call your clients ? ”bitch” for everybody ?
No, they are not clients, they are game companions
Bruno as well ?
Bruno is my servant. In fact his name is Blandine. Today he is dressed as a boy but he is often as a woman, when he serves at the table for example.
We always imagine that only rich and powerful men come to be whipped. is that the case ?
That’s untrue. Blandine is a locksmith, he is neither powerful nor rich. He has that obsession in his head, he can’t live otherwise, he can’t live any other sexual life. He craves that. For some people it’s their life, whereas others come to play and leave with their man’s costume. There are also people you have for a long time: I had a famous researcher with me for three years. I went around the world with him, he was leading symposiums across the entire world and then one day it stopped, brutally, because we quarrelled. So, yes, among them there are famous people, but you’re not supposed to say that.
Are there any similar places in paris ?
Not a lot. Less and less because the dominatrices can’t afford a space: I’m the owner. But I have always worked because being a full time dominatrix would have destroyed me psychologically: it is a game and you are not supposed to base your life on a game. And I never advertised my dungeon with fliers back in the days when that was how it worked, because I said to myself “paper remains”. I’ve worked in fashion, real estate: I have always had ordinary jobs. Would you like to see my tax return?
Do you think about stopping one day ?
Maybe, for the moment it’s not incredibly busy but it’s still okay. S&M has democratized, people have become famous so they don’t come any more. Before it was a community, just the diehards, very sincere people who knew what they were talking about. Now it’s turned into a kind of trade for teenagers asking for presents in exchange for being insulted down the telephone. They don’t have a clue about S&M! ...There are less real people involved today.
But what made it fashionable ?
Going on Dechavanne’s show introduced it to a larger audience So perhaps, it’s down to me …
His book “Françoise Mistress 2 will be for sale in 2016 ON kindle.