Moulin Rouge Paris – The Best Ways To See The Hottest Show in Town

The Moulin Rouge, with its signature bright red windmill, is the number-one rated cabaret in the City of Night and has been since its opening in 1889. Today, one hundred performers, including the legendary Doriss Dancing Girls — resplendent in feathers, sequins and rhinestone costumes — take to the stage for an evening of dazzling entertainment.

Exactly as old as the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge cabaret should be high on your list of things to do in Paris. We recommend booking a package that includes a classic French 3-course meal and plenty of champagne. The popular cabaret sells out weeks in advance, so be sure to book early!

Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show with VIP Seating

Moulin Rouge Dinner, Show & Hotel Pickup

We particularly like this option because you're treated as a VIP in the best seats at the Moulin Rouge. In fact, there are only twenty-four of these exclusive seats on the balcony, with clear views to the stage, sets, and dancing. The night also includes skip-the-line entry plus the show, a four-course French dinner, and fine wines and champagne selected by the sommelier.

Moulin Rouge Cabaret with Champagne

Moulin Rouge Dinner, Show & Hotel Transportation

With thousands of 5-star reviews, this spectacular evening at Moulin Rouge is sure to be memorable. Feast your eyes on the extravagant Féerie cabaret show while sipping champagne. You can also opt to come early and dine at the Moulin Rouge before the show starts. If you do that, choose the Belle Epoque menu for the best experience.

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Dining at the Moulin Rouge – What to Expect

Toulouse-Lautrec

Sure, it's a cabaret, but you probably didn't know that the Moulin Rouge is also known for its dining. The menu continually changes but here's a sneak peek of what you can expect when you dine at the world's most famous cabaret.

There are several menus to choose from, each is named after a pivotal actress, artist, or époque. Of course, it being France, a half bottle of champagne per person is always included! Dress code at the Moulin Rouge is elegant attire. Look your best — you're in Paris!

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The Best Evenings in Paris

Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show with VIP Seating
The magic and wonder of Paris: a classic French dinner at a private table in the VIP section at Moulin Rouge. Afterwards marvel at the iconic cabaret show.
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VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, wine & a classic meal. Choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, best meal, and the ultimate experience.
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Mistinguett Menu

Mistinguett was a star of the Moulin Rouge in the early 1900s and one of the highest-paid female entertainers in the world. Mistinguett (Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois) started her career as a flower seller and became so popular that she toured the US and appeared in Time magazine.

ENTRÉE
• Terrine of foie gras with fruit chutney, or
• King prawns with smoked spices & herb vinaigrette

PLAT
• Sautéed chicken breast with morel cream sauce & fresh pasta, or
• Baked salmon filet with French white butter sauce & roasted grape tomatoes

DESSERT
• Compote of red berries, meringue & raspberry sauce, or
• A trio of chocolate creations garnished with chocolate pearls

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Toulouse-Lautrec Menu

Dedicated to the artist who popularized the gaiety of Moulin Rouge. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec accomplished a lot in his brief 36 years. You'll probably recognize his popular Moulin Rouge posters — Reine de Joie, Aristide Bruant and La Goulue.

ENTRÉE
• Norwegian smoked salmon & caviar with toast points, or
• Stuffed dover sole on a bed of baby greens

PLAT
• Steamed sea bream with champagne sauce & dauphinoise potatoes, or
• Sautéed veal with suprême sauce & rice pilaf

DESSERT
• Moulin Rouge Opera cake with chocolate hazelnut sauce , or
• Compote of red berries, meringue & raspberry sauce.

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Belle Épôque Menu

Belle Épôque is French for the "Beautiful Era". This menu is dedicated to the period between the Prussian War (1870) and World War I (1914) when France's economy flourished and the arts, restaurants, culture and entertainment gained recognition.

MISE EN BOUCHE
A little appetizer specially prepared by the chef to tease the palate

ENTRÉE
• Foie gras with mango vinaigrette & roquette salad , or
• Lobster à la Parisienne with baby greens

PLAT
• Sea bass filet with porcini mushroom sauce & risotto , or
• Sirloin steak with French beans, fresh butter & pan-fried baby potatoes

DESSERT
• Saint Honoré cake with raspberries, whipped cream & caramel, or
• Moulin Rouge Opera cake with chocolate hazelnut sauce, or
• A trio of chocolate creations garnished with chocolate pearls

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The Best Seine River Dinner Cruises

VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, wine & a classic meal. Choose the Service Privilege option for the best seating, best meal, and the ultimate experience.
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Bateaux Mouches Dinner Cruise with Live Music
At your private table enjoy a classic 4-course French dinner, with live music. Your bateau lazily floats past illuminated landmarks like the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower.
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History of the Moulin Rouge

History of the Moulin Rouge

1889 was a big year for Paris. The Eiffel Tower was built, an International Exhibition was staged, and Moulin Rouge opened its doors. Founders Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler had a vision of creating a place where rich and famous Parisians could let their hair down in the shabby/chic part of town, Montmartre. Their extravagant design included a gigantic elephant sculpture in the garden — in fact, the early shows were inspired by circus acts.

Instantly, Moulin Rouge became a magnet to tout le monde — women, workers, artists, the bourgeoisie, businessmen and tourists. Enter Parisian artist Toulouse-Lautrec — It was his posters and paintings that boosted the Moulin Rouge to international fame.

The Moulin Rouge has been the spot for entertainment in Paris since it was built at the height of the Belle Epoque, the re-flourishing of Paris after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. The French Cancan with its furious rhythms and scintillating costumes, along with a champagne-fueled audience, made the nightclub a sought-after destination.

Controversy has also been a part of the Moulin's history. Colette's 1906 performance Egyptian Dream caused a sensation. The Chief of Police threatened to close down the cabaret if the two-minute act was ever performed again. What was all the fuss about? A long kiss between Colette and her fellow performer, Missy, AKA Yssim, AKA the Marquise de Morny.

Moulin Rouge Timeline

Moulin Rouge, 1890s

The Moulin Rouge, the birthplace of the can-can, has entertained Parisians and pleasure seekers from around the globe with its risqué and elaborate shows for 130 years. Those years haven't all been easy — over the decades the cabaret has faced many trials, from scandals and a major fire, to world wars and near bankruptcy.

Established during the Belle Époque, the Moulin Rouge made its debut the same year as another Paris icon, the Eiffel Tower. Both were launched in 1889, a time when the bourgeoisie was creating the art of travel, leisure, dining, and entertainment.

Decades passed and Moulin Rouge continued its famous revue, but it was not drawing the same size crowds. Bankruptcy loomed in the 1990s. Then something unexpected happened, a deus ex machina in the form of Baz Luhrmann's 2001 film Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The film brought new audiences to the night spot and new energy to the team. Since then Moulin Rouge has continued to be a top destination in the City of Light.

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The Most Popular Ways to Visit Versailles

Your Own Private Versailles – Private Guided Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Experience Versailles on an exclusive private tour with access to areas seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences, as well as the magnificent gardens.
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Best of Versailles with Skip-the-Line Access + Grand Canal Lunch
Skip the long lines to experience the grandeur of Versailles on a guided tour. Stroll through the stunning gardens then meet up for lunch on the Grand Canal. Hotel pick-up is included.
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130 Years of Highlights

  • October 6, 1889 – The world's most famous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge opens at the foot of the hill in Montmartre in the Pigalle district.
  • October 26, 1890 – When the Prince of Wales takes his front row seat, La Goulue catches sight of the the future king George V of England, and calls out, "Hey, Wales, the champagne's on you!"
  • 1891 – Toulouse-Lautrec's first poster for the Moulin Rouge is printed, featuring La Goulue. She is the first star of Moulin Rouge — born Louise Weber (1866-1929) and nicknamed The Glutton because she had an insatiable thirst for customers' drinks. She also becomes known as the Queen of Montmartre.
  • 1893 – The Bal des Quat'z'Arts, a famous annual arts ball, causes a sensation when a nude Cleopatra dances, surrounded by a troupe of naked women.
  • November 12, 1897 – For the first time in its history, the Moulin Rouge closes, for the funeral of Charles Zidler, the cabaret's cofounder.

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Universal Exhibition

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  • 1900 – Visitors flock from around the globe to the Universal Exhibition in Paris (above) to see the latest advancements in technology. And they adore the Moulin Rouge, giving the city its reputation as a place of decadent pleasure.
  • January, 1903 – Moulin Rouge re-opens after a lengthy renovation under the direction of the famous Belle Époque architect Édouard Niermans. His other projects include Brasserie Mollard, Folies Bergère, and Hotel Negresco in Nice. Now, the elite of Paris can meet for dinner and a show in elegant surroundings.
  • January 3, 1907 – French writer Colette kisses the Duchess of Morny on stage during the show Le Rêve d'Egypte. Declared scandalous, the show is banned. You can see Keira Knightley reenact this scene in the 2018 film, Colette.
  • July 29, 1907 – A dancer known as Mistinguett makes her first appearance in La Revue de la Femme. Born into poverty as Jeanne Florentine Bourgeois (1875-1956), she transforms herself to become the star of Moulin Rouge and the highest-paid female entertainer in the world.
  • February 27, 1915 – The Moulin Rouge burns down, making the news worldwide. The International Herald Tribune reports the popular cabaret has been reduced to ashes due to a short-circuit-caused fire.
  • 1921 – Moulin Rouge reopens after a long restoration process.

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Mistinguett

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  • After World War I – A new manager takes charge and hires a top choreographer to reinvigorate the cabaret. The Moulin Rouge regains its audience, thanks to Mistinguett and a very young singer, Maurice Chevalier. (Her photo above.)
  • 1929 – Mistinguett retires from the stage; the Moulin Rouge loses its biggest star.
  • 1929 – A new revue, Lew Leslie's Blackbirds, opens as a huge hit. It stars American jazz singer and Broadway star Adelaide Hall (1901-1993), with a hundred black performers along with the Jazz Plantation Orchestra.
  • World War II – Nazi occupiers flock to the Moulin Rouge. The cabaret flourishes during the occupation with German officers as the main audience.
  • August 1944 – Days after the liberation of Paris Edith Piaf performs with newcomer Yves Montand.
  • June 22, 1951 – Georges France, founder of another Paris cabaret, Balajo on Rue de Lappe, purchases Moulin Rouge and starts another major renovation.
  • 1955 – Moulin Rouge once again has new owners, brothers Joseph and Louis Clérico, who also own Le Lido, the cabaret on Champs-Elysées.
  • 1957 – Doris Haug, a dancer from Germany, creates the Doriss Girls troupe, originally with four dancers. The dance company eventually grows to sixty performers and endures to this day as the centerpiece of the show.
  • 1962 – Jacki, the son of Joseph Clérico, takes control of the Moulin Rouge, ushering in a new era by making the auditorium larger and installing a giant aquarium for the first ever aquatic ballet.
  • 1963 – With the success of the Frou-Frou revue, Jacki Clérico, a superstitious man, will only choose subsequent show titles that start with the letter F. You think we're kidding?
    • 1963 to 1965 – Frou-Frou
    • 1965 to 1967 – Frisson
    • 1967 to 1970 – Fascination
    • 1970 to 1973 – Fantastic
    • 1973 to 1976 – Festival
    • 1976 to 1978 – Follement
    • 1978 to 1983 – Frénésie
    • 1983 to 1988 – Femmes, Femmes, Femmes
    • 1988 to 1999 – Formidable
    • Since 1999 – Féerie

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The Village People

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  • September 7, 1979 – Moulin Rouge celebrates its 90th birthday with a star-studded line up including Ginger Rogers, Dalida, Charles Aznavour, Zizi Jeanmaire, and of course, The Village People.
  • November 23, 1981 – Moulin Rouge closes for a private performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • September 25, 1984 – Frank Sinatra appears at a special gala.
  • October 6, 1989 – Moulin Rouge turns 100. Gala stars include Charles Aznavour, Lauren Bacall, Ray Charles, Tony Curtis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Lamour, Jane Russell, Charles Trénet, and of course, the Gypsy Kings.
  • November 14, 1999 – It's the final night of the centenary revue and Formidable will have been seen by 4.5 million spectators.
  • December 23, 1999 – The new revue, Féerie is performed for the first time. It is still performed today (2019).
  • August 10, 2014 – Doriss Haug, mistress du ballet since 1957 and founder of the Doriss girls, dies.
  • October 6, 2019 – Moulin Rouge celebrates its 130th anniversary. Its twin icon, the Eiffel Tower, is the same age.

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