There are scores of attractions in the French capital; the Sacré Coeur, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and of course the Eiffel Tower. However on a recent visit standing outside the famous cabaret known as the Moulin Rouge topped my list. As we were staying in the Montmatre district it was too good to pass up.
Alighting from the nearest Metro station at Blanche on Line 2 onto Boulevard de Clichy means stepping out into the centre of the sex trade in Paris, lined with innumerable adult shops the famous red windmill which gives the theatre it’s name is clearly visible. Montmatre was also originally a village of windmills so it signifies this heritage.
It is unsurprisingly popular, few actually taking in the show but happily posing outside. Despite it beginning to snow, there was a steady stream of smiling tourists waiting their turn to pose, allowing their photographer to compose their perfect capture.
Montmatre was at the height of it’s acclaim around the turn of the 20th Century attracting artists, poets and performers to it’s attractive cobbled streets. Bars and theatres opened and the red light trade adopted the district, opening several brothels catering for the amorous if not romantically inclined.
The Moulin Rouge first opened it’s doors to the public on a Sunday, 6 October 1889 in Quartier Pigalle, Montmatre. It seems unlikely that however visionary the managers Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler were they could not have anticipated the world renown their cabaret would achieve. It is one of Paris’s most visited attractions and home to the infamous can-can which is performed during every show, including the current one which is called “Féerie”.
There is a plaque outside which details the history in a slightly incomprehensible manner. It is one of the history plaques spread through the capital which explain important historical Parisian attractions.
We had not booked ahead and as it is exceptionally popular, therefore unlikely that tickets would be available so we did not get to see the dancing girls this time. The cheapest tickets available are €89, which of course has nothing to do with my reluctance. Actually it does, as even attractive scantily clad dancers which I can’t photograph are unlikely to persuade me to part with that sort of cash.
We made do entertaining ourselves by performing a can-can of our own in the snow and no you aren’t seeing any pictures of that!