The Moulin Rouge show in Paris is considered the world’s most famous cabaret performance, and has inspired hit movies and Broadway productions. This breathtaking live performance is something every visitor to Paris should experience at least once. Three types of packages are available for the show. You can choose to go just for the show, or you can partake in a champagne and show combination, or go all out and experience the three course dinner and champagne while you’re thoroughly entertained by the dancers and comedy acts.
This show is the ideal choice for a night out in Paris, or on your last night as the final au revoir after a tour of the city. Moulin Rouge started in 1889 as the brainchild of Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller. Easily distinguished by the red windmill on its roof, the show is located in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, on Boulevard de Clichy in the district of Pigalle. This area is also known as the red light district. The Moulin Rouge show holds the distinction of being the birthplace of modern can-can dance, which then spread all over Europe. World famous posters done by renowned artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec decorated the auditorium of the Moulin Rouge, increasing the show’s worldwide popularity. The show also catapulted to fame many talented dancers, such as Jane Avril, Grille d’Egout and Nini Pattes en l’Air. These dancers and more are now immortalized in history because of their performances.
The show’s popularity amongst locals and foreigners alike means that advanced planning is a must if you want to enjoy your experience at Moulin Rouge. Decide which ticket package is best for you, and purchase tickets in advance. While advised, buying tickets early doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to the best seats in the house. It is strongly advised to arrive at the venue as early as an hour and a half before showtime, as the seating is first come first serve. Arriving at the show early is easy since the Blanche metro station is nearby. If you’re feeling adventurous you can walk through the historic district of Montmartre on your way to the show to enjoy its carefully preserved historic character.
On arriving at the venue of the Moulin Rouge in Paris, you will be required to pay a mandatory coat check fee, however the amount is negligible. As mentioned earlier, if you are not a fan of crowds then Moulin Rouge may not be right for you. You will most likely wait for quite some time with the other excited patrons, but the show will be well worth it. While you’re waiting, you can purchase a glossy program as a souvenir. If you’re feeling generous you can even purchase a few more to give as keepsakes to friends and family. While you may be tempted to take your camera or cell phone into the show, personal pictures are not allowed, and your items may be confiscated until after the show.
If you’re concerned about not being able to take pictures of your friends and family as they enjoy the spectacular show, there’s no need to worry. There are photographers milling through the tables offering photo packages to anyone who is interested. However, be sure to ask specific questions about the cost of the photos, and the number of prints you will receive. These packages can be quite expensive, and if you agree to being photographed you will have to purchase the tickets regardless of the price. It may be possible to negotiate with the photographer for a good deal on the prints if you so desire.
While you’re waiting for the show to start, servers will be waiting to fill your orders of champagne, and you can ask whether you can begin your three course dinner if you purchased that ticket option. The wait staff try to accommodate English speakers and speakers of other foreign languages as best as possible, but when traveling to Paris it is always a good idea to learn a few key phrases that will help you communicate your needs effectively. It is always good to be aware that the venue is tightly packed, and your waiter may have a hard time getting to you in a timely manner, so some patience may be necessary.
The show in itself will make you forget that you’re in the middle of a crowded theatre. The vibrant, extravagant costumes and daring entertainment will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration of the show. Keep in mind however, that Moulin Rouge is not for children, so if you’re on a family vacation you can ask your hotel front desk staff if there are any babysitting options available. Some of the dance performances are infused with humor, so be prepared to be thoroughly entertained. The side acts sometimes include roller skaters and acrobats, and you’ll be delighted by the variety of intriguing performances.
Spectacular stage decorations are all but outshone by the beautiful dancers in a wide variety of costumes, performing carefully choreographed dance numbers. You’ll be blown away witnessing a daring performer swimming with pythons. You’ll wait with bated breath for the lovely dancer to be devoured by two huge reptiles, and the drama and suspense is what makes this act worthwhile. Python’s aren’t the only animals given their chance in the spotlight. If you’re lucky you’ll see performances including ponies and other four legged animals.
With its vibrant history, breathtaking performances and extravagant costumes, the Moulin Rouge show in Paris is one of the best ways to spend an evening. Even if you’re not a fan of cabaret, the infectious enjoyment of other patrons is sure to get you in the mood to enjoy one of the greatest shows on earth. At the very least, if you choose the all inclusive combination package, you can enjoy a scrumptious three course meal and free flowing champagne.
Photo by Linh Nguyen