In the 1960s and 1970s, when the Trente Glorieuses, France’s post-war boom years, were at their height, “Madame Claude” was part of the Parisian establishment, supplying high-class prostitutes to politicians, businessmen and foreign leaders from John F Kennedy to the Shah of Iran — and reporting on them to the French secret police.

Her multimillion-dollar empire disintegrated, however, after she fell foul of President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in what some saw as a decision to destroy the threat she posed to the powerful.

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