The Moulin Rouge. Immortalized by Baz Luhrmann’s film and demonized by more than a few mothers, it remains a big tourist hotspot in Paris. You can buy all kinds of souvenirs with ‘Moulin Rouge’ written all over them. From trays to t-shirts. Whether you love or hate it there’s no denying that the big, red windmill is synonymous with Paris.
Maybe it was because thirteen year old me loved the film so much and knew every song by heart. Or maybe we two newlyweds wanted to try something a little controversial, but my husband and I decided to go see a show at The Moulin Rouge while in Paris.
You have the option to either watch the show, or have dinner while watching the show. As a bonus, you get a glass of French Champagne with dinner. Real French champagne and not sparkling wine. Although the food was scrumptious, wonderfully presented French cuisine, it was a rather steep price increase. Considering the ticket price for just the show and the price you pay for dinner and the show. You could probably get similar food for cheaper a street or two away before or after the show. What you are paying for is the experience of dining during the show. And the service was on point.
“So how sleazy is the show really” you might ask:
The show itself was very entertaining, and well choreographed. As a dancer and choreographer myself you can take my word on it. There were some guest artists doing specialised routines that were really spectacular (if you can excuse the musical reference) mixed in with the in-house dancers and singers. You could not fault them on technique, expertise or showmanship. The costumes were to die for and the show was very professional. Of course they finished with the iconic can-can and I would have been dissapointed of they hadn’t. There was some nudity, as some of the girls performed some of the sections topless. In my opinion, the nudity wasn’t specifically tasteless although it wasn’t necessary. The show is good enought to go without the topless dancers. Although I do think with the Moulin’ Rouge’s history some patrons would go away disappointed without it. The nudity, for me, did not deter from the beauty of the rest of the performance.
Going to the Moulin Rouge:
There appears to be a dress code, although about half of the patrons don’t adhere to it. Some were dressed to the nines in glittery dresses and suits. As for Mauritz and myself who had cycled there…we were in jeans and nice shirts. I can honestly say that I did wear my most expensive shoes to the show, but must also confess that those are my purple Hunter gumboots. The dress code isn’t specifically enforced, mostly due to the fact that almost all the patrons are tourists. You can’t really expect someone who is touring a foreign country to have a wrinkle-free dress.
While I’m talking about the dress code, I feel that it’s important to mention their coat-check policy. We were there in the winter, which means cold winds, rains, and thick coats. When you go in your options are either to pay the few euros to check your coat in, or to wear your coat for the duration of the show. They have a very strict, no-coats-on-chairs-policy for some reason.
Very few locals actually got to see the show. The Parisiennes are quite conservative in their attire, so many of them aren’t too thrilled with the Moulin Rouge and the…interesting…shops which surround the theatre.
If you desperately want to click a pic…
For a string of reasons no photos are allowed inside the theatre, or during the performance. The staff and other patrons are more than happy to take of photo of you with the theatre in the background after the performance. While we were there some girls ran on stage to take photos as the audience was leaving. The theatre staff dealt with them swiftly.
It was a very fun experience, and considering the high quality of the show itself I felt that it was worth the price tag. It was an experience I will treasure for many years, and I get to feel as if I experienced a little cinema history too.