The Moulin Rouge in Paris, France, has been a symbol of French entertainment for over a hundred years. The name means “The Red Mill”, and the red windmill on the roof is a favorite of artists, photographers, and tourists. The Moulin Rouge has been the setting for operas, movies, and musicals, so the red windmill is a recognized Paris landmark.
The History of the Moulin Rouge and the famous can can dancers.
When it opened in 1889, The Moulin Rouge was a place where the different classes of people could mingle and have fun. Artist Toulouse-Lautrec painted the dancers and the patrons of the Moulin Rouge, and earned money from the advertising posters he created.
The famous cancan dancers were originally courtesans who took a French party dance and made it first erotic, and later increasingly vulgar. The dancers were called the “chahuteuses” which meant the unruly girls. They might be called unruly by some, such as Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who later made a show of refusing to watch the filming of the Hollywood Cole Porter musical film, “Can Can” with Shirley MacClaine and Frank Sinatra.
By the 1930s, the Moulin Rouge shows were more respectable reviews, music hall shows, and operettas. In the early 1950s, George France bought the Moulin Rouge, renovated it, and returned some of the traditional attractions of cancan dancers, singers, and elaborate productions.
The Moulin Rouge show.
The current Moulin Rouge show of international settings and exotic stories includes a circus, a pirate show, a ventriloquist, acrobats, jugglers, and more. There are 60 Doriss girls, 80 musicians, 60 singers, and 80 artists. Over a thousand costumes with generous quantities of feathers, rhinestones, and sequins are used in the show.
When I enjoyed an evening at the Moulin Rouge, the show was spectacular and entertaining, and the high kicking cancan dancers were the highlight. I would call them enthusiastic, athletic, and even sexy, but also well rehearsed and disciplined dancers who are not vulgar at all. It isn’t really a family show, but young people would enjoy the spectacle. Children under six are not permitted, but those under twelve get a discount on the price of the show.
Dinner at the Moulin Rouge.
Anywhere French will pride itself on the quality of the food. Chef Laurent Tarridec is quoted on the website as saying, “at the Moulin Rouge, every night is a feast. The courses we prepare have to be as good and beautiful as the scenes, costumes, and dancers.” My eyes and taste buds can verify that they are successful.
The set menus vary in price depending on the choices offered for the 3 or 4 courses, with the French Cancan at 150 Euro, the Toulouse-Lautrec at 165 Euro, and the Belle Époque with four courses at 180 Euro. This includes half a bottle of Champagne or wine and the show following dinner. Dinner can also be ordered A-la-Carte, or vegetarian, and there are less expensive options at lunchtime, for the show and drinks, or the show only. There is no reserved seating, so arrive 30 minutes to an hour ahead of the scheduled time.
Enjoy a fabulous night in Paris.
Going to the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France will probably be a once in a lifetime experience for most people, so I really recommend splurging on a fabulous feast and saving some Euros or dollars in other places on your trip. We chose the best of the menu choices and enjoyed every bite and sip!
Jacket and tie are not necessary, but the Moulin Rouge does say that “elegant attire” is required, and that there are “no shorts, sports wear, short pants, or sports shoes” allowed. So, leave your tourist duds at the hotel, and dress up just a bit for a fabulous night on the town in Paris.
Source: Personal Experience, updated on the Moulin Rouge website.