Drinking Bubbly at the Moulin Rouge in Paris

Daa-daa-dadadada-daa-daa-dadadada-daa-daa-dadadadada-dadadadadadadadada 😀 The can-can! Who doesn’t know it? I remember my mother and her pals dressing up, rehearsing for hours and presenting a version of it in our home town’s Little Theatre for their annual variety show, what a hoot! One of the most famous theatres in the world, it was only later in life that I realised how iconic the Moulin Rouge really is and, of course, watching Hugh Hefner and the “Girls Next Door” visit the iconic theatre also really helped solidify the legacy of the venue. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had always wanted to go to the Moulin Rouge.

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On our honeymoon Mr John and I stayed in a Parisian suburb called Pigalle. My brother had recommended the area to us after spending a number of visits  in Abbessess – one stop down. I had chosen Pigalle as it was close to the Moulin Rouge (the Red Windmill) and also because the Metro stop had 2 connecting lines on it, which I figured that was a pretty convenient stop to make use of while in Paris.

On our first night in Paris, Mr John and I wandered up the road to explore the area. Little did we realise that we were, pretty much, in the Red Light district of Paris! I knew the Moulin Rouge was there but I had no idea it would be surrounded by sex shops! So we wondered through Pigalle with wide eyes, up to the Moulin Rouge, just 3 minutes away.

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There’s definitely something very special about seeing the Moulin Rouge after passing the D-grade version in Riebeek Street in Cape Town for decades! But, unfortunately, when we found the price we were a little taken aback to learn that it was 200 euros – PER PERSON!

One our third night in Paris, while sitting in the Relais Gastro in Abbessess, weighing up our money and our wish for experiences, Mr John said, “I’d go for 100 euros, isn’t there a matinée or something?” GENIUS! So after dinner we walked back in the direct of our hotel and popped past the theatre to see if there was a matinée. Low and behold, we found a 11pm show! For 100 Euros per person! YAY!

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Post dinner slump, but keen to watch the show!

Unfortunately I was under dressed and maybe I was stupid not to go ‘home’ quickly and get dressed up, but every night the ticket prices change. So if you don’t take the 100 euro price while you can, they can’t guarantee it’ll be 100 tomorrow and we really didn’t want to lose our place in the queue (limited tickets). So we joined the queue and waited our turn.

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It was wonderful to stand in the foyer and think of all the famous people and performers who had passed through the hallways. Soon we were in the main foyer, with lots of glamorous visitors dressed up  – and some unfortunately tourists like myself dressed down! We secured our tickets at the ticket desk and were soon ushered into the entrance hall. (Shop behind me in the image below.)

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We entered the red themed theatre which was sprinkled with red lamps and golden lights. The ‘cheap seats’ are at the tables on the theatre floor. We sat at communal tables right in the front, with 3 other couples. They cleverly position each couple so that they sit opposite one another. This way I could look at Mr John throughout the night – it was easy to make eye contact and enjoy the experience together. Guests are requested not to take pictures inside, but people do take pictures – really openly so it gets confusing as to whether they mean NO photos at all or just no flash photography. We stole two quick pictures before the show started.

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Before the lights go down, each table is given a number of ice buckets with a bottle of champagne for each couple. Works out to about 2-3 glasses of champagne per couple. REAL FRENCH CHAMPAGNE WHOOHOO! It’s probably cheap, horrible stuff but nothing beats drinking French champagne in the Moulin Rouge!

The show (Feerie) was wonderful and weird! They say, “Féerie” consists of: a troupe of 80 artists, including 60 Doriss Girls recruited world-wide ; 1000 costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins, made in the most famous Parisian workshops…” – Moulin Rouge website. The costumes and decor were really, really good. The stage production was also really good and the women were glamorous. Unfortunately they weren’t singing live though which was a bit of a pity. Although, they may have sung live in some parts.

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The male dancers were very good but some of them had crazy eyes and were like performance dolls, like, very plasticy. The main lead on the website looks very nice, he wasn’t the lead the night we went. The lead on our night looked like Eddie Redmayne, but the ken doll version! Ever the professional, but he really had eyes like a doll! I wondered if he was intoxicated!

The show didn’t only have singing and dancing though, they also had trapeze type acts, miniature horses, acrobatic elements and the act that blew my mind – they raised the stage with a GIANT transparent bath on it, let pythons lose in the water (GIANT ONES) and a lady dived in and swam/danced with the snakes! Because you’re at eye level with the tub, you can see it all at eye level. It look INCREDIBLE and those snakes, YOH! Swimming around, so big, it looked amazing but the lady might be slightly mad.

Picture via the Moulin Rouge

Picture via the Moulin Rouge

My second favourite act was the roller skating couple. They had a tiny circle stage which they span around and around and around on, doing ice skating moves. That was all good until the lady hung herself from the man, neck to neck, until he swung her around, feet off the floor, around and around and around! GAWD! If that material had snapped she would have gone flying into the audience, skates first! I was nervous, LOL!

The dancers were really beautiful and glamorous but not all of them were topless. There seemed to be a hierarchy of toplessness! Only the ‘stars’ were topless, many of the chorus girls were more clothing. Boobs are great, but they’re not the biggest deal in the world and after a while you forget they are topless. They are also not topless in every act. It’s done in a really classy way. I see from their website that they have a strict criteria for those wanting to join the troupe, ”

  • Serious dance training with a good classical base and advanced modern / jazz
  • Minimum height female dancers: 175cm/5’9 I Minimum height male dancers: 185cm / 6’1
  • A slim graceful figure for the girls and well proportioned muscled body for the boys
  • Great stage presence and bright personality”.
Picture via the Moulin Rouge

Picture via the Moulin Rouge

The more expensive tickets for the Moulin Rouge include the 3 course meal as well as seats in the balcony. To be honest, I wouldn’t do it for that price. 100 euros is still a lot of money and, really, you’re just there for the show – which isn’t the greatest show on the planet because it’s almost like a weird skit! Super camp, super glamorous. I’d highly recommend going, but don’t spend more than 100 euros on it because you may be over investing in the experience. Have fun!

Post dedicated to Kate & Duncan, Mike & Jo who allowed us to go to the Moulin Rouge 🙂 Thank you!

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