The Moulin Rouge cabaret show is easily one of Paris' most famous nightlife activities, but it isn't always easy finding tickets once you arrive in the City of Light. Here are various ideas about Moulin Rouge tickets and packages, such as Moulin Rouge tickets combined with tours or special Parisian dinners.
This is one of the cheapest options for booking Moulin Rouge tickets. The deal includes transfers to and from your hotel and tickets for the show plus half a bottle of Champagne.
This is a good option, and best of all, it also includes a chance to see Paris when it is at its most breathtaking: after dark. There are many reasons why Paris is called the City of Light. The tour passes the Concorde and Vendome Squares, Pigalle and Blanches squares, the Opéra, La Madeleine Church, rue Royale, the Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero, Invalides, Notre Dame Cathedral and Chatelet Square. In summer (April to October) you usually get the 11pm show (unless there is availability at the 9 pm showing). In winter (November to March) you usually see the first show at 9pm. But you might just get lucky and get the 11pm show in which case you get a complimentary Seine River cruise after the Illuminations Tour and before the Moulin Rouge show.
Looking to impress your sweetheart or have a dizzying Parisian experience in one night? This Moulin Rouge package features seven hours of an amazing night to remember, from dining at the airship-style 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant on the first floor of that great Paris icon to cruising along the Seine. You finish at the Moulin Rouge, Paris’ oldest cabaret. 58 tour Eiffel is not the top restaurant here (that’s reserved for the gastronomic Jules Verne Restaurant, run by Alain Ducasse), but the view of Paris below is pretty hard to beat.
The story of the extraordinary Moulin Rouge
It all began during the Belle Epoque in 1889 when two businessmen who also owned the Paris Olympia attractions opened the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre, instantly recognizable by the red windmill on its roof. It was a good time, with the Expositions Universelles of 1889 and 1900 showcasing the inventiveness, wealth, and entrepreneurship of France and the rest of the world. The Eiffel Tower was also built in 1889; it was a very good year.
Montmartre was the artists’ area, with a reputation as the edgy, if not downright louche, area of Paris. The idea of luring the rich here to slum it proved to be a winner. It was also due to its new architecture where the stage could change rapidly; and the Champagne evenings and over-the-top shows. However one of the great innovations was the new dance, the can-can with its titillating positions leaving little to the imagination and the extravagant costumes. In 1890 the decidedly rakish British Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, who had quite a reputation for the ladies, came here to see the can-can dancers. La Goulue, one of the top dancers of her day recognized him and apparently with her leg in the air and her head in her skirts, called out "Hey, Wales, the Champagne’s on you.” History doesn’t relate whether he paid up. In 1891 another devotee of the venue, Toulouse-Lautrec produced his first poster for the Moulin Rouge of La Goulue, which you can see in Albi his home town in the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum.
The Moulin Rouge closed for renovation, reopening in 1903 to a design by Edouard Niermans who designed the Paris Casino, the Folies Bergère and the Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. Famous performers continued to perform here, but none was more loved than the famous Mistinguett who first charmed the audiences in 1907.
In the 1930s it became the greatest night club in Europe, with American jazz stars first appearing. In 1937 the Cotton Club performed. During World War II, it became the favorite venue for German offices; in 1944 just after the liberation of Paris, Edith Piaf sang here, accompanied by a new and unknown Yves Montand.
The roll call of famous names continued; in 1953 the French President watched Bing Crosby appear for the first time in Europe and Josephine Baker who lived in the Dordogne. Charles Trenet, Charles Aznavour and Lena Horne all added their particular magic.
The 90th birthday of the Moulin Rouge in 1979 saw Ginger Rogers, Dalida, Charles Aznavour, George Chakiris, the Village People and Zizi Jeanmaire. Through the later years, Liza Minnelli, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Mikhail Baryshnikov have appeared. In fact, it’s hard to find a more famous and eclectic list of stars who have all trodden the boards at the Moulin Rouge: Lauren Bacall, Ray Charles, Tony Curtis, Ella Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Barbara Hendricks, Dorothy Lamour. Jerry Lewis, Jane Russell, Esther Williams, Elton John, Juliette Binoche and Jessye Norman have all appeared here.
So what’s it like today? Well, the famous performers no longer appear (except at private functions), but this glorious, over-the-top theatre keeps its glamor. It’s well worth a visit.
Read Courtney Traub on an evening at the Moulin Rouge.