Some of the shows have been known to involve snakes. They aren’t tossing them into the audience, but just to warn you!
The original Moulin Rouge was built in 1889, but it burned down in 1915. Presumably things got a little bit hot in there. It has since been rebuilt and immortalised in the 2001 film of the same name. It is found close to Montmarte in the district of Pigalle, and it is, of course, marked out by the gaudy red windmill on its roof.
At the start of the twentieth century this place had a bit of a reputation. What went on inside caused a lot of public outrage, though the same men were probably sidling in later that evening to get a glimpse of the licentious ladies. During this period, the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a regular, and he painted a number of famous scenes from his experiences. More recently the club has cleaned itself up, shed its reputation as a glorified brothel and it now attracts a high-class clientele looking for clean fun.
Fan-Fan of the Can-Can?
Moulin Route is the spiritual birthplace of the modern can-can dance. This dance has its origins in a seductive number performed by the courtesans who once operated on the site, but it soon became an entertainment in its own right, leading to cabarets springing up across Europe. You can still catch a performance here, set amid the romantic decor of fin de siècle France.
Thank you for the music
Before Russell Crowe made his brave but ultimately hopeless baritone performance in Les Miserables, the movie musical was brought back to life by Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. Everything is cheeky, piquant and burst with vitality. Who could fail to be charmed by the love story of a young poetic Ewan McGregor and a glamorous, doomed Nicole Kidman.
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