Moulin Rouge, Paris: My Experience

I am supposedly a cultural traveler. That is what my friends tell me. Maybe I am because I usually don’t miss my chance of watching shows whenever I am traveling. After watching ‘Phantom of the Opera’, a Broadway musical in New York, I wanted to see “Moulin Rouge” in Paris. No, I am not talking about the movie. Actually, I never saw the movie since I was still not an adult back then and then never bothered to watch the movie post that.

So, what is Moulin Rouge in Paris? I knew that it was a cabaret. But knowing it and wanting to see one of the world’s greatest acts are two different things. I learned it the hard way and read on to find out how I got one of the biggest cultural shocks in my life. I have realized that I should research more in the future. Here I list some of the ‘Things to remember while visiting Moulin Rouge Paris‘. Are you planning to visit Moulin Rouge Paris and don’t know what to expect?


Getting tickets to Moulin Rouge Paris

The easiest way to get a ticket is to go to the Moulin Rouge’s website and book the tickets through them. I booked my tickets through one of my favorite booking options, Viator for their ease of use.

Moulin Rouge, Paris runs 2 shows every day of the year at 9 PM and 11 PM (I am not sure about holidays). For those wanting to have dinner, there is an option of having dinner at 7 PM followed by the 9 PM show. The show goes on for approximately 105-110 minutes. I did not choose the dinner option since there were no vegetarian options to choose from and at the same time, it was expensive too. You have to pay minimum 105 Euros for a single ticket.

What to wear to Moulin Rouge Paris?

So you are wondering what is the Moulin Rouge Paris dresscode? They are very elegant when it comes to this. They don’t expect the men to wear ties or suits and business casuals will do. But I did not see anyone in jeans and most people dress up when they are going to see the show at Moulin Rouge, Paris. But shorts, flip flops, sports shoes and sportswear are not permitted inside.

Since I was on a 5-week trip around Europe, I had only flip-flops and sports shoes. So, I actually went shoe-shopping in Paris and ended up buying a gorgeous pair of heels (my only splurge shopping throughout the entire trip). I ended up wearing an evening wear gown, which I had carried with me. They do have a cloakroom for storing your coats.

When to arrive for the shows at Moulin Rouge Paris?

It is recommended that you arrive at least half an hour in advance. Most shows are fully booked and it does take the staff some time to seat everyone. You can either carry a paper ticket or you can show the tickets on your smartphone.

First impressions of the hall:

It is a huge seating area and the entire hall is classily done with red shades and it is eloquently gorgeous. Each and every guest is individually seated. I had a normal ticket and I was placed right next to the stage in the front. You are prohibited from taking any pictures and please adhere to this rule.

My ticket came with half a bottle of champagne and I ended up having only a single sip.

After seeing the ambiance, I was extremely excited and I couldn’t wait for the show to begin.

Moulin Rouge Paris facts and History:

Moulin Rouge, Paris is a cabaret and has been around since the late 1800’s. The original building burnt down in 1915 and it was replaced with the existing building, characterized by the red windmill.

The most famous dance shown here is the Can-Can dance, which is a very enthusiastic but at the same time physically challenging dance. There are around 80 dancers, both female and male dancers with around 60 of them being ladies. The ladies are affectionately called Doris’s girls after one of the most famous dancers, Doris Haug and who formed the first Doris’s troupe.

The resident stage show is called the Feerie, which has been running since 1998. It comprises of 4 acts, each sticking to a theme. The first act is in the ‘Garden of Moulin Rouge” followed by ‘Pirates’, ‘Circus’ and the last act paying tribute to the women of Paris.

Between each act, there are some international acts like the couple in roller skates, a trio of acrobats etc.

What is Moulin Rouge Paris?: 

The shows always start on time and as I sat there waiting to be transported to another land, the show started. It started innocently enough with lots of dancers entering the stage all dressed up. You have to see it to believe it. All the costumes are gorgeous and colorful with exquisite sequined designs and fascinating headgears.

But then as the act progressed, I suddenly sat there shocked out of my wits. I can only blame myself but I did not know till I actually saw the frontal female nudity that this show was adult themed. Yes, you can expect to see a lot of boobs (Oops, did I actually use the word on my travel blog? Please grow up if you felt offended by it.) There is a lot of dancing and a fair number of boobs too.

Mind you, not all female dancers are nude. In the group of maybe 60 girls, around 15 of them are nude while the rest of them are covered. After I recovered from my initial shock, it was actually lots of fun. There was nothing trashy about the whole show and it was as classy as it can be. There is some superb dancing and to top it for us girls, there is some eye candy in the form of gorgeous male dancers. The passion that goes into each show is evident from the smiles of each and every one of those dancers. In spite of doing some hard numbers, all of them do it with a captivating smile.

Costumes are out of this world and each of them appear to be carefully crafted with elaborate headgears and lots of sequins. The acts are all entertaining even though I could not understand a word of what they were singing. Everything is in French but in spite of that, I sat absolutely enthralled with everything going on in the show.

In addition to the dancers, you can also find some cute miniature horses and clowns during the Circus act. In one act, you can see a lady swimming with Boa Constrictors and I was ready to sprint out when I saw the snakes so close to me. All the acts in between are also exceptional and special mention needs to be given to the couple dancing in roller skates. The energy through the Can Can dance is quite inspiring too.

It was a great way to spend two hours of my life and I am really glad that I got to see Moulin Rouge, Paris.

Are children allowed?

Kids above 6 years are allowed but unless you want to scar your Indian child for life, I would strongly advise you against taking your kids to watch the Moulin Rouge, Paris. I really can’t comment on kids from other countries, though.

Is it advisable to go with Indian elders?

Again, I would strongly advise you against it. Unless you want to scare your mother in law to death after seeing so many boobs.

Would I advise a solo traveler to go?

I went alone and I had a gala time during the entire show. Go with an open mind and you will definitely have a great time.

Getting Back after the show:

The first show gets over at 11 PM. There is a taxi stand just opposite and you have to wait in a queue to get a cab. If you can leave a little early to beat the crowd, then please do. I was staying close by and this taxi ride cost me around 12 Euros.

So that is it, my scandalous summary of my time at the Moulin Rouge, Paris. If you want to catch a trailer of the show, you can check it out here.

Liked it, the pin it.

Things to remember while visiting Moulin Rouge Paris

  • Diana C

    Loved reading your post! I’ve walked past the Moulin Rouge numerous times but never ventured inside. It does sound so scandalous but I am also so curious about it after reading about your experience! I would definitely NOT feel good about being in the same room as a boa constrictor, as snakes are pretty much my biggest fear in life, but sounds like it was all worth it. I’m actually going back to Paris for a day in a couple of weeks with my boyfriend so maybe we’ll book a show!

  • This is a good summary for us who want to go to see the show. I live in Paris, but haven’t been to Moulin Rouge yet.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Victoria

  • They are in leotards, not topless. Watch again. Anyway good to read at such a length.

    • I beg to differ. You can check online and find out more. In the trailer, they are only showing the ones with the leotards. And like I have mentioned, most of the girls are not topless, just a few during every act. Have you ever been to a Moulin rouge show?

      • What looks off the stage is not true on the stage. Surely this is the best show but unlike Crazy Horse it not put under the ADULT show and even kids are allowed because of hardly any nudity in it. I have watched the most of them, few in Paris and others in America (They do in Vegas/Chicago/NYC too). After all you learn a lot after travelling to 4 continents. Check out our FB page for more insight on lot many destinations you may get surprised with.

        • Links are not allowed in the comments. If you want to promote your page, please look elsewhere.

          I am not going to argue with you over the nudity aspect in Moulin Rouge. I am sure of what I saw and I am going to stick to that. About allowing kids to the Moulin Rouge, Europeans actually don’t care. This is evident from the number of nude beaches in Europe.

          So does it mean that you have more expertise just because you have been to 4 continents? I didn’t know that. Oh and just for your information, I have been to 5 continents.

          • Intelligent spirits have always encountered oppositions from mediocre minds!!!! Your are free to delete the entire comment and paint false pictures, not many can know. I have enough followers to listen and make best out of their travel. I would appreciate to know when you can write about something which is surprising true enough and not known. Shows are for tourist all over the world and European love their children as much.

          • If you have enough followers, then why are you putting links in my webpage? Please go ahead and promote your links on your page.

            I don’t paint false pictures and that is why this comment is going to stay on the page. I am not going to engage you any further.

            “Silence is the best answer to a stupid question”.

  • Alexandra

    I laughed out loud at the boobs! Living in Europe most of my adult life, it hardly fazes me anymore, but when my whitebread Canadian parents come visit, I always enjoy their shock! I mean, this year the nativity scene in my little Spanish town had the Virgin Mary with her breasts out to feed baby Jesus. Not nearly as scandalous as the Moulin Rouge, mind you, no boa constrictors were in the stable 😉
    I am very envious of you though. It’s definitely a dream of mine to go see one of their cabarets, shame about the food though (I’m also veggie), but in France I suppose it’s hardly surprising.
    I have to say I find your writing style really fun and easy to read! I’ll definitely be coming back 🙂 Thank you!

    • My parents would have been shocked too. A few years ago, me and my sister made it to Italy. Would have been embarrassing to do with parents though.

  • Sonia Sahni

    Loved your point of view, especially, we as Indians need to really decide where to go and where not to go with kids and parents. I would dread taking my parents on a beach in Croatia… you never know which corner is a nudist beach and my mom and dad would not know where to look! Thanks for the tips on the dress code…will pack accordingly!

    • I have never been to a nudist beach though. Should definitely check it out. 🙂

  • Haha, I loved the way you do not recommend Indian elders and children
    to go to Mulan Rouge. To be honest, I did know it was a very erotic
    show but I didn’t think that some of the girls would be naked on the
    stage. That indeed must be a unique and strange experience. It’s great
    that your ticket came with half a bottle of champagne as well. Why did
    you only take a sip?

  • Lauren West

    I’ve always wondered what the inside of the Moulin Rouge is actually like, too! Reading your post helped me visualize it really well. Good to know about the nudity. That could really offend some people who didn’t know it was part of the show!

  • I never knew either what was inside, I have seen the outside of the building. The way you describe it, it sounds like a scene from Rush Hour 3 where Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan became part of the show. Being a single male, French women and boobs sound perfect!

  • Michaela Terese Harrison

    I have been to Moulin Rouge and thank you reminding me how brilliant it was. I can see why some people could feel uncomfortable. I feel it is better than the Lindo.

  • Jean Bean

    Oh my. I’m sorry you got shock. I did get a bit of a giggle reading this. It’s rather well known for it’s scandalous history and boobs. It’s great to see that the French idea about women’s bodies aren’t restricted and that children are allowed. After all what are boobs? Just a part of every day life.

  • Oh my goodness, I am so jealous! I found myself in Paris bunking on the couch of a friend of a friend of my mom’s, and he was the most fast-paced, all over the place guide in the world. We stormed by the Moulin Rouge so fast I didn’t really understand that I’d seen it until it was out of sight! I’ll have to go back for the full shebang.

  • Samarpita

    I’ll be honest, I laughed for a while at “but unless you want to scar your Indian child for life”, nor because you wrote it but how different cultures across the world and how protected our kids are, which is good in my opinion. good that you wrote the disclaimer.
    Loved reading the rest of the post. Moulin Rouge is definitely in the list for our long Europe trip due next year, so I’ll be coming to your post before doing my bookings 🙂

  • Joseph Humphreys

    Hahaha, if only I had read a post about you planning to go to Moulin Rouge before you actually went rather than after you had been, I might have been able to warn you about the nudity! It is one of the things that it’s most famous for, but if you’re not expecting it, it would come as a shock! Glad to hear that, once you grew accustomed to it, you were able to enjoy the experience- which is indeed a captivating one 🙂

    • I had heard of it but I thought that was in the olden days. I thought they were not nude anymore.

  • This was really interesting! I have never been to Moulin Rouge and probably wouldn´t be able to afford it anyway, but I loved to have a peak! I think although children are allowed, it´s not really the best fit for them – not because of the nudity, but certainly I as a child would be bored to death to watch a dance show for two hours, boobs or no boobs… 😉

  • Anisa Alhilali

    I have been wanting to go to this I think ever since the movie with Nicole Kidman. It does sound like a great experience.

  • Oooooh sounds like a very scandalous show, I never went to find out what goes behind Moulin Rouge but you painted quite a vivid picture! Never would have guessed what performances would have came from behind the grand curtains ya!

  • Now I know what to expect if I ever went there!

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    Moulin Rouge is a big part of Paris culture and an iconic landmark. You have recounted your experiences really candidly and it is a great help for people who are in two minds about going to the show. I am sure that the act was class and never stooped to vulgarity. I can see it was quite a grand spectacle.

  • “Scandalous”!!! Ha.. ha… 🙂
    But seriously I too had plans to watch one of the show but then with kids our priorities got a little different.

  • Natalie Tanner

    This is such a great post. I can just imagine your shock. Lol! But what surprises me the most is the fact that you had an evening gown with you? Wow! Talk about ready for anything!!!

    • I usually don’t carry. But I took one of those flowy ones just in case.

  • Rashmi & Chalukya

    Am not a culture person you can say as I have never been any shows of these kinds. Moulin Rouge sounds interesting and a different experience altogether. Your post has given me a new perspective of Paris which will remain etched in my mind. Thanks for sharing this great experience with us I will definitely take care not to take along my MIL 😛

  • Adam Biernat

    Paris is one of my favourite cities. I’ve been several times and I’m sure that’s not the end 🙂 Still, I haven’t been to Moulin Rouge, but I think it would be really interesting to watch a show. Great post!

  • Oh I am also a cultural traveler. Missed seeing this when I was there long time ago but seriously it won’t go nicely with Indians. 🙂

    Yes, these shows expect one to dress decently. Good that you did that shopping. I was surprised that the ticket came with champagne. 🙂

  • Marlene Marques

    What a wonderful experience. When I went to Paris I thought about attending a show, but I had a controlled budget and the tickets are quite expensive. But I really enjoyed reading your post and getting a good idea of how to watch a show at the Moulin Rouge. Who knows one day I go there again. 🙂

    • It is a little expensive. But who knows, if I will ever get a chance again.

  • Anamika Ojha

    I watched the movie Moulin Rouge during my college days but didn’t know that there’s a show on it! I’d definitely love to attend this show!

  • Neha Verma

    The show does sound quiet intriguing. Alas, we can’t take children and that is totally understandable. Although I am going to Paris in couple of months, but given the fact that you can’t take children below 6 years with you. And as you suggested, not to take them otherwise also. I guess I will have to give it a pass. But will definitely go when I visit solo

  • I liked your elaborated post. We had visited Paris but didn’t saw Moulin Rouge show. Next time we will try it for a new experience. Thanks for the dress code tip. we will keep that i mind before packing.

  • travellingslacker

    Seems not very suitable for desi families… that means it is perfect for loners like me.. he he
    Let’s see when I can make it to Europe. But good guide, especially the practical details such as getting back at night.

  • CurlyCurlyK

    Hahaha this was quite fun to read as I was wondering if you knew all of what the show consisted of! I’ve never been to the actual show myself whenever I’m in Paris, it was a bit too out of my price range, but it sounds like it was a fun time! It has a long and sordid history, so now you’ve gotten to experience a bit of that! And DO watch the movie, it’s GORGEOUS.

  • I saw this when I was in paris but I never ventured in. By the sounds of it though I may not have met the dress code haha. I really laughed about the scaring your mother in law to death bit. I suppose I grew up in a pretty different culture but I’ll make sure I don’t make that mistake! ☺

  • Suruchi Mittal

    This sounds fun. I wanna experience moulin rouge myself some day. I completely agree with your point we Indians really think and need to decide what has to be seen with parents and adults. Rest it is ones decision. This is just a culture difference.

  • Ha ha..I love the way you have answered the questions on whether to take kids or not….I missed the show for precisely that reason. Did not want to scar my daughter for life 😀 …Nice set of tips

  • Ah so cool. I have passed by it so many times but never actually went in. Should put it on my list for next time 🙂 Love that first picture!!

  • Parichay Mehta

    This is a great way of summarisaiton. Loved the points (Children & Elders) from Indian perspective. We went to Paris in September ’16 & missed this. I’d love to witness this show next time for sure. 🙂

    Parampara-Parichay