Legendary cabaret house the Moulin Rouge has reached an extraordinary milestone. This week, the grand old dame turns 125. Like fellow Parisians Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, the iconic Moulin Rouge oozes style, sophistication, and a certain je ne sai quois. More than simply a hub of high-kicking antics and fantastically frilly costumes, the Moulin Rouge is very much part of the cultural fabric of Paris and is a longstanding salute to the joie de vivre (the joy of life).
To celebrate clocking up one-and-a-quarter centuries, a number of special shows are set to take stage at the Moulin Rouge, honouring past dancers and performers including legendary songstress Edith Piaf. A stalwart on the Boulevard de Clichy, the 'Red Mill' - to use its translated title - is a living piece of French history.
La Belle Epoque – the Beautiful Era
The Moulin Rouge came to life at a time known as La Belle Epoque - an turn of the century era drenched in sunny optimism and artistic expression. Enter the Casino de Paris, the Moulin Rouge and the Eiffel Tower - three shining beacons of this most prosperous of ages. Taking its cues from big-top circus performances with a little extra pop and sizzle, the Moulin Rouge was (and still is) unlike anything Paris had ever experienced.
The extravagant windmill-topped venue at the base of Montmartre hill has kept the champagne pouring and the frilled-skirts flying since 1889.The allure of the cabaret is still very much alive and well, with more than half a million guests passing through the doors of the Moulin Rouge each year.
There's no business like show business
Teetering on the edge of the salacious and the sophisticated, imitations of the Moulin Rouge's offers fail in comparison to the real deal. Whether you loved or loathed Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film tribute, chances are catching a show at the Moulin Rouge is on the agenda if you're planning to say "bonjour!" to Paris.
Beyond the feather boas and warmly-lit glow of this captivating cabaret, a big part of the Moulin Rouge experience is giving your taste buds a workout. You can settle in for dinner and a show every night of the week, with the first show at 9pm and the second at 11pm.
Our tips for visiting the Moulin Rouge? Book a table online in advance, be prepared to line up to get in, and get ready to step back in time to an era where cabaret was king. It's a little raunchy, a little risque and a whole lot of razzle-dazzle!