If you have been busy planning your trip to visit Paris, then the Paris Moulin Rouge is probably high on your list of sights to see – but do you know what really goes on behind the iconic windmill? Read on for a backstage look into the Paris Moulin Rouge.
What you’ll find in this article:
– the history of the famous cabaret
– an introduction to the Féerie show
– the artisans behind the cabaret shows
– advice on the different packages, tickets, show times, dress code and transport access
– INSIDR tips on where to eat around the Moulin Rouge area
History of the Paris Moulin Rouge
The Paris cabaret first opened its doors in 1889 and built its reputation on Champagne-filled parties and the famous French Cancan dance. The quaint red windmill houses many secrets. Located at the foot of Montmartre and in amongst the Paris Red Light District, the Moulin Rouge is an icon in Paris.
Learn more about the Moulin Rouge’s 130 -year history right here.
Along with visiting Versailles, visiting the Louvre and getting the perfect shot of the Eiffel Tower, no trip to France is complete without visiting the famous cabaret. The Paris Moulin Rouge is first and foremost an amazing show. The Doriss girls are recruited from all around the globe and the spectacular troupe is graceful, athletic and glamorous. The extravagant, intricate costumes and the elaborate set will make you feel as if you traveled back in time.
Introducing the Paris Moulin Rouge
The Paris Moulin Rouge Show: Féerie
The Féerie is one of the Moulin Rouge’s most iconic shows. It was first created by the famous Doris Haug and and is now being choreographed by Bill Goodson. Over 4 years and 8 million euros were invested to create the show which currently features 80 artists and 40 Doriss Girls.
When you watch Féerie, you’ll be entertained throughout all 4 different acts. You will also notice the difference in the highly intricate costumes designed by Corrado Collabuci.
Paris Moulin Rouge and The French Cancan: The Quadrille
Originally called the Quadrille, the French Cancan spread to Britain in the 1860s and hit it off globally from there. The Paris Moulin Rouge opened its doors to the Cancan dancers for the first time in October 1889.
The Paris Moulin Rouge Cancan was an immediate success and contributed to the cabaret’s famous reputation. The dance is not easy for everyone, even highly skilled dancers! It requires both artistic and athletic qualities. All Moulin Rouge dancers need at least five weeks of training before they’re ready to hit the stage!
Shining gems of Paris Moulin Rouge: The Doriss Girls
The Paris Moulin Rouge would be different without their famous Doriss Girls. The German Miss Doriss joined the Moulin Rouge in 1954 and created the famous troupe. From just a couple in the 50s, the troupe is now made up of 80 elite dancers.
The Doriss girls have always been recruited from all over the world – from Las Vegas to Sydney and of course Paris. All potential Doriss Girls need solid training in classical ballet and the physical capacities that the Moulin Rouge show requires.
Secrets behind the beauty of Paris Moulin Rouge
1. Maison Février: Exceptional French feather craftsmanship
The Paris Moulin Rouge show wouldn’t be the same without the famous feathered outfits. The Maison Février, created in 1929, is the craftsman behind the prestigious feathers. Their workshop is located in the heart of Montmartre, on rue Lepic, where the expert fingers of the master feather makers are busy at work.
From music-hall to high-fashion, Maison Février has worked with Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint-Laurent and Louis Vuitton. However, the Maison is closely associated with the Moulin Rouge. In fact, their history is so intertwined that the Paris Moulin Rouge actually acquired Maison Février in 2009, to continue their efforts of preserving fine French know-how.
2. Maison Clairvoy: Hand-made shoe masters of the Paris Moulin Rouge
The collaboration between Maison Clairvoy and the Paris Moulin Rouge dates back to the 60s, though Maison Clairvoy was first created in 1945. The famous shoemakers soon made a name for themselves thanks to the outstanding quality of their handmade footwear.
Each pair of shoes takes between 20 and 50 hours and requires five specialized boot makers to complete. The exquisite boots are an essential part of the Paris Moulin Rouge show. Not only do they perfectly match the flamboyant costumes, they are specifically designed with the dancers in mind. The Paris Moulin Rouge Cancan would just be so different without a pair of Maison Clairvoy boots!
3. Atelier Valentin: The Art of Embroidery behind the Paris Moulin Rouge
Another crucial part of the Paris Moulin Rouge show is the elaborate costumes worn by the dancers. The magnificent creations are hand stitched by the highly-skilled craftsmen of Atelier Valentin. The Atelier was founded in 2003 by Caroline Valentin. They’re known for producing only the highest quality, handmade, unique pieces. They work for all of the best shows in Paris, including major Parisian cabarets, operas, theaters as well as circus performances.
The Atelier uses sequins, pearls, rhinestones and metallic thread to create elegant, eye-catching costumes. Enjoy the magnificent embroidery work as you admire the Paris Moulin Rouge dancers on stage.
3 Tips for a perfect experience in Paris Moulin Rouge
1. Paris Moulin Rouge dress code
Going to the Paris Moulin Rouge does require you to respect the dress code. The official website suggests “elegant attire”. However, jackets and ties are not required, but if you feel like getting decked out to fully get into the spirit of the evening you’re of course welcome to. Shorts, flip flops and sportswear are not permitted inside. The Paris Moulin Rouge does have a reputation to protect! We recommend casual evening wear. For men, chinos or dark pants as well as a buttoned down shirt or any collared shirt is perfectly acceptable. For women, slacks and a top or a dress are great choices as well.
2. What to eat in the Paris Moulin Rouge
The Moulin Rouge’s gourmet dinner is the perfect pairing to the glamorous show!
Executive chef David Le Quellec is in charge of the 120 person brigade and 25 cooks. The menu includes classic French dishes with a modern and creative twist. The restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and was selected by the prestigious Gault & Millau guide as one of the city’s best dining experiences.
Champagne is of course the official drink of the Paris Moulin Rouge. Over 240,000 bottles of it are opened each year! They also have a great selection of wines chosen by their house sommelier.
3. Don’t forget to visit the Paris Moulin Rouge souvenir shop!
Looking for a gift for a friend or family member? You should definitely stop by the official Moulin Rouge souvenir shop. From clothing, to tote bags and candles, you’re sure to find the perfect embodiment of the famous cabaret that you can bring home with you.
Moulin Rouge souvenir shop
Address: 11 rue Lepic, right next to metro Blanche
Metro: Line 2 Blanche
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10AM to 2PM and 3:15PM to 7PM
Paris Moulin Rouge package
Paris Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show
To get the full Moulin Rouge experience, we definitely recommend going for the dinner and show option. As mentioned, the Paris Moulin Rouge restaurant is one of Paris’ top dining experience.
Choose from 3 different menus:
(1) Le Mistinguett, (2) Toulouse-Lautrec, or splurge on the (3) Belle Epoque menu! All 3 menus feature a 3-course meal with drinks like Champagne. Dinner is accompanied by the Moulin Rouge orchestra who play some lovely tunes right up until the show begins. It’s the best way to get in the mood for the show!
Paris Moulin Rouge Show
The Paris Moulin Rouge has two shows daily, 365 days a year:
1. 9pm-11pm show
2. 11pm-1am show
Expect bright lights, period music and extravagant costumes. As the number 1 show in Paris and Europe, you’ll need to book tickets early as the legendary cabaret tends to sell out. A staple in the Parisian nightlife, the Paris Moulin Rouge show is an unforgettable evening and should definitely be on your life of must-dos in France!
Paris Moulin Rouge Privilege package
If you’re looking to treat yourself or celebrate a special occasion, the Moulin Rouge Privilege experience is a great option. And let’s be honest, even if you don’t have anything particular to celebrate, the Paris Moulin Rouge is the perfect place for an evening of pure indulgence. Enjoy your seat on the private balcony reserved for just 24 guests. The table features perfect views of the stage.
The Moulin Rouge Privilege Menu
– a main course
– dessert, macarons, and chocolate
How to get to Paris Moulin Rouge
Paris Moulin Rouge by metro
The Paris Moulin Rouge is located in the 18th arrondissement, just at the foot of Montmartre and easily accessible via Paris public transportation. Here is how you can access Paris Moulin Rouge by metro:
Address: 82 boulevard de Clichy, 75018
Closest metro station: Blanche on Line 2
Second option: Place de Clichy on Line 13
Paris Moulin Rouge by bus
If you’d rather take the bus to enjoy the views of Paris, you can also easily access the Paris Moulin Rouge.
Recommended bus lines that go to the Moulin Rouge:
Line 30 bound for Pigalle – This bus takes you directly to the Moulin Rouge from Arc de Triomphe. Get off at the bus stop Blanche. Check the bus route here.
Line 95 bound for Porte de Montmartre – Take this bus line if you’re coming from Montparnasse, Saint-Germain, Musee du Louvre, and Opera. Get off at the bus stop Place de Clichy. Check the bus route here.
Lines 54, 74, 80, and 85 also head towards Montmartre. Be aware that traffic can be pretty bad in Paris at rush hour. If you plan on taking the bus, make sure you give yourself enough time and you’re not late for the show!
|INSIDR Tip: Understand Paris’ public transport better: metro lines, RER trains, and different types of tickets and passes available. Download our Paris Public Transport Guide.|
Hotels near Paris Moulin Rouge
There are so many amazing places to stay at in Paris, but some of our favorites are just a few steps from the Paris Moulin Rouge. The South Pigalle neighborhood, or SoPi as trendy Parisians have taken to calling the area, is full of delicious restaurants and hidden cocktail bars. It’s also just a few minutes walk to Place de Clichy, making it super accessible via public transportation.
South Pigalle has a particularly good selection of small, stylish, boutique hotels. We’ve picked two of our favorites that you should check out for your time in Paris and enjoy being just a short walk from the iconic cabaret!
Paris Moulin Rouge hotel recommendation #1: 1er Etage SoPi
The 1er Etage SoPi is a fabulous boutique hotel just a few minutes from the Paris Moulin Rouge. Despite its central location on a busy street, the hotel is both quiet and peaceful. Housed in an 18th-century, two storey-building, rooms are impeccably decorated with private bathrooms and air conditioning. 1er Etage SoPi also has two lounges you can relax in, with a kitchen area where you can enjoy coffee or tea in the afternoon. Even more, a delicious continental breakfast is served daily. Numerous restaurants and bars are within walking distance – the lovely multilingual staff provides excellent recommendations.
1er Etage SoPi
34 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, 75009 Paris
Paris Moulin Rouge hotel recommendation #2: Hotel Joke – Astotel
Another one of our best places to stay in Paris near the Paris Moulin Rouge is the Hotel Joke Astotel. If you’re a fan of the original and unique design, this is definitely the hotel for you. The Hotel Joke is ideal for an unforgettable, unusual holiday in the heart of the 9th arrondissement. Hotel staff is super friendly and the reception is open 24 hours a day, perfect if you have a late flight. Most noteworthy, the buffet breakfast is fantastic and served in a lounge flooded with natural light. Grab an afternoon or evening drink at the onsite bar.
Hôtel Joke – Astotel
69 Rue Blanche, 75009 Paris
Restaurants near Paris Moulin Rouge
Le Bar à Bulles for apéro
If you’re looking to grab a drink before heading to your show, our best tip is to hit Le Bar à Bulles. This hidden bar is actually located on the roof of the Moulin Rouge itself! Not only do they have delicious tapas, but Le Bar à Bulles also has a great selection of unique cocktails. Personally, we love the “Mojito Moulin Rouge” and “Le Harry”. It’s by far the most convenient place to grab a drink before heading downstairs to catch your show.
Le Bar à Bulles
4Bis Cité Véron, 75018
Open from 6pm-1am on Tue-Friday; from 11am-2am on weekends, closed on Mondays
Le Poulbot for dinner
One of the most popular restaurants in Montmartre, Le Poulbot does traditional French food right. The kitchen is run by chef Lorenzo Torrini, a Tuscany native but specialized in all things French cuisine. House specialties include sliced salmon with diced bacon, venison stew, and veal tongue. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the creamy lavender crême brûlée or gooey moelleux au chocolat. Also, They have a great selection of artisanal beer and some are even brewed right in Paris! Poulbot’s warm and inviting interior is a modern take on the classic French bistro.
3 Rue Poulbot, 75018
Open daily from 12pm-2:30pm; 6:30pm-10:30pm