When it comes to Paris, the famous red windmill of Le Moulin Rouge is just as iconic as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or the Louvre. First built in the late 1800s this world-famous cabaret has attracted visitors from across the globe for over a century. With its risqué performances and beautiful dancers, Le Moulin rouge has inspired a collection of films, books, and even a song. Voulez vous couchez avec moi anyone?
Of course with the fame comes the big price tag and the difficulty getting tickets. As I found out, rather embarrassingly on my first trip to Paris, one cannot just expect to get tickets the night of. You need to book in advance. Not just a day in advance, like a few weeks or even months in advance.
In 2012 I went back to Paris for the second time, this time bringing my mom. She wanted to go as badly as I did so we booked out tickets right away to ensure we could get in. The night of the show we arrived thirty minutes early and joined the massive line. We chatted excitedly before a man’s voice spoke up behind me.
“Are you one of the dancers?”
At first I wondered if he was blind because that was possible one of the worst pick-up lines ever. But, it turns out that he just wanted to tell me how terrible the show was; that it was a waste of money and I was only going to be disappointed. I smiled back politely and pretended to listen but as we moved further up the line I began to wonder, was he right? Was I going to be disappointed?
Turns out I wasn’t. I loved every single minute of it. So much so that when I returned to Paris for the third time in 2017 I booked tickets to go again. And guess what? I loved it just as much the second time around as I did the first.
Did I understand it all? Nope. Yes, I’m Canadian but no I don’t speak fluent French. But, I didn’t have to speak the language to enjoy the show. Dazzling costumes, talented dancers, fun numbers, and jaw-dropping acrobatic acts had me sitting on the edge of my seat all night long.
So, is the Moulin Rouge worth it? I absolutely think so. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s touristy. But it is a unique experience that promises to entertain.
Tips for the Going to the Moulin Rouge
- Book your tickets in advance! There are two shows every night; a 9pm show and an 11pm show. The 9pm show books up fastest so if thats the time you want, book really early.
- Not only do you need to book early, but you need to arrive early. Really early. Seats are first come first serve, so if you want great seats, be prepared to wait outside for awhile.
- Dress up! No, I don’t mean suits and gowns but ditch the jeans and yoga pants and running shoes! Its a night out in Paris, dress for the occasion.