The wilder side of Paris is found in the Moulin Rouge. The infamous venue will put on a show like no other. Step inside and experience Belle Époque Paris!
What you need to know about the Moulin Rouge
City: Paris, France.
Transport links: Blanche (Metro Line 2).
Nearby attractions: Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Access: Tickets are best bought online in advance. A basic ticket without dinner will cost you around €100. There are options to buy tickets that also include drinks and/or dinner that are more expensive naturally.
Children over 6 can in theory be taken into the venue with an adult. Perhaps you think twice and don't bring your kids to the adult-oriented red light district though....
Fact: The Moulin Rouge has been open since 1899 and has always been one of the most popular attractions in the red light district that it is part of. The original building burnt down in 1915 unfortunately but was replaced with the building that still stands to this day. With its neon red windmill it really stands out even in this vibrant area.
The Moulin Rouge is the jewel in the crown of Paris' red light district
Travel to the area in the 18th arrondissement and you'll find yourself surrounded by cabaret shows, sex shops and hedonism gone wild. It is quite the contrast to the pious Sacré-Cœur church not too far away.
Regardless, the red light district is fun. It is less sleazy and less of a magnet for stag parties in comparison to the Amsterdam red light district, and as long as you are as vigilant as you normally are anywhere on holiday then it is completely safe. It is vibrant but locals are still lovely.
The Moulin Rouge's red windmill stands out a mile and it is hard to miss it either day or night. You should get your tickets for the evening shows in advance online to get the best rates, but tickets will be expensive regardless so prepare yourself to spend more here than in most other attractions in Paris.
Moulin Rouge tickets are not cheap but the shows are amazing
Ok so you're going to be spending around €100 just to get into the Moulin Rouge. That is a lot of money unquestionably. The shows you see are tremendous however and you can not get this sort of authentic experience elsewhere. Yes you can go see a cabaret show all over the world but given the chance to see the cabaret show of all cabaret shows, the Globedge recommendation is that you bite the bullet, stump up the cash and have a brilliant night out.
If you want to have dinner there then the basic menu will cost you around €80 extra on top of your ticket.
Given that the shows start at 21:00 and 23:00 every night, it would be advisable to go eat elsewhere if you're looking to save a bit of cash for other things. If you do eat at Moulin Rouge then the food (bank on three courses and a bottle of champagne to share) is good.
Photography is not allowed inside technically (some still do but be cool people and follow the rules) so we can't show you the show itself. It is a massive extravaganza of cabaret action and the ambience and energy in the room certainly builds up your excitement levels before the show begins.
What to expect from your night at Moulin Rouge
First things first is the formality. The requested dress code is smart. It may not be militantly stuck to but the venue has a reputation and a vibe that it likes to keep up so please be mindful and respectful of their wishes. Also it's always great to dress up on a unique & stylish night out like this. Not all tourists have suits and ties understandably, or their fanciest dress packed with them, so as an absolute minimum wear smart jeans and a nice shirt.
You will have your own seat. Every guest gets their own seat so there is no fear of sharing a bench type seat with a stranger. Once at your seat your drinks/dinner will be available if you ordered them, and you can sit back and enjoy a fantastic night of throwback entertainment. Keep in mind that if you just book the show then it will start 21:00 or 23:00. If you book dinner then you need to be in your seat a couple of hours in advance of your show time but this will be clarified on your booking.
If you try to name a performance in advance you will probably come up with the Can-Can. It is indeed the most famous dance performed at Moulin Rouge with over 80 dancers absolutely killing it through this and the rest of the show with timing and athleticism that is seriously impressive. Sure the Can-Can looks simple but try to do those kicks yourself for a prolonged period of time and you will be seriously tired in no time.
You get more than just a can-can though. You will get to see multiple performances from their main show Féerie that comprises Garden of Moulin Rouge, then Pirates, the weird and wonderful Circus and a last act that pays tribute to the women of Paris with a grand finale of the Can-Can. It's a seriously fun show to see!
There are smaller performances in between the main acts which are wide-ranging and often feature international performers.
Expect your night to be world-class cabaret dancing interspersed with acrobats, magicians and more!
Some Moulin Rouge facts
The venue goes through almost 250,000 bottles of champagne every year. Show tickets often come with half a bottle of champagne (check when booking) but dinner reservations would come with more bubbly.
The venue was rebuilt after the 1915 fire but was not opened again until 1921, well after World War I ended and France had enjoyed a period of peace time.
The Moulin Rouge was one of the first buildings in Paris to have electric lighting. The City of Light as the French capital is now known certainly had its priorities sorted when lighting the cabaret show venue before much of the rest of the city. Sacré Bleu!
Over 600,000 visitors travel to see a show at Moulin Rouge every year. The venue only has 850 seats in it so that is first of all very impressive, and secondly an indication that you need to be booking nicely in advance as the venue is basically always full. A general occupancy level of around 96%, even after the show has been going for over a century, shows that the Moulin Rouge is a quality night out and one that has literally stood the test of time.