Short description

Moulin-Rouge Show is a Parisian cabaret founded in 1889 by Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, who already owned the cabaret Olympia. The Moulin Rouge celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1989.
Located on the boulevard de Clichy, some 250 m from the Place Pigalle in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, at the foot of the Montmartre hill, its style and name have been imitated and borrowed by other cabarets around the world. Its dance symbol is the French Cancan.

Open hours

Deux propositions

  • Diner - spectacle : diner à 19 h et spectacle en suivant à 21 h
  • Spectacle uniquement : à 21 h

Deux formules (s'appliquent à chaque proposition):

  • Standard
  • Prestige

Moulin Rouge
82, Boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris-Montmartre

Metro: line 2 (Blanche station)
Bus: 30 / 54 / 68 / 74
Parking: Clichy-Montmartre - 12 Rue Forest, 75018 Paris - Rédélé Parking - 11 Rue Forest, 75018 Paris


Moulin Rouge
82 Boulevard de Clichy
75018 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 53′ 03″N 2° 19′ 56″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.87403 2.33265
Full description

Moulin-Rouge Show is a Parisian cabaret founded in 1889 by Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, who already owned the cabaret Olympia. The Moulin Rouge celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1989.
Located on the boulevard de Clichy, some 250 m from the Place Pigalle in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, at the foot of the Montmartre hill, its style and name have been imitated and borrowed by other cabarets around the world.

The context of Montmartre at the birth of the Moulin-Rouge Show

The Belle Époque was a period of peace and optimism marked by industrial progress and a particularly rich cultural abundance. The Universal Exhibitions of 1889 (celebration of the centenary of the French Revolution and presentation of the Eiffel Tower) and 1900 are symbols of this. Japonism, an oriental-inspired artistic movement with Toulouse-Lautrec as its brilliant disciple, was at its peak. Montmartre, in the middle of an increasingly gigantic and depersonalized Paris, kept a bucolic village atmosphere.

There were up to 30 windmills on the Montmartre hill (including 12 on rue Lepic) that crushed grain, corn, plaster and stone.

The birth of the Moulin-Rouge Show

On October 6, 1889, the Moulin-Rouge Show was inaugurated at the foot of the Butte Montmartre on the site of the former Bal de la Reine Blanche. The objective is to allow the richest to come to indulge in a fashionable district, Montmartre, populated by "little people". Small employees, residents of the Place Blanche, artists, bourgeois, businessmen, elegant women and foreigners passing through rub shoulders. It is also an extravagant place - the garden is decorated with a gigantic elephant.

The Moulin-Rouge Show was nicknamed "The First Palace of Women" by its creators Oller and Zidler. The cabaret quickly became a great success.

The show for all, ahead of its time

The architecture of the hall was revolutionary. It allows quick changes of scenery. All audiences mixed together. Festive evenings are organized, with champagne. People danced and laughed a lot thanks to humorous attractions such as that of Joseph Pujol called "le Pétomane"(1). They were changed regularly.

At the end of the 19th century, there were two worlds in Montmartre: that of the parties and that of the artists who came there to seek the quality of the light above the pollution of the big city and the moderate rents. But these two worlds cohabited and mixed with two common values: the party and the pleasure and also the beauty.

(1) A Petomaniac is a comedian or a person working in the entertainment business whose main or unique characteristic is his ability to let off gas in a creative, musical or funny way. Petomaniacs have been mentioned in history since the Middle Ages, in Ireland and in Japan. It is an "art" that seems to be forgotten today.

The artists of Montmartre

They included some famous names: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Renoir, Juan Gris, Georges Braque, Kees van Dongen, Guillaume Apollinaire, Alphonse Allais, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Proust, Maurice Utrillo, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaïm Soutine, Pierre Bonnard, Roland Dorgelès, Max Jacob, Pierre Mac Orlan. But in the midst of a city that is increasingly gigantic and depersonalized, Montmartre cultivates its village spirit, a large family that has been chosen, its bucolic aspect with the grape harvest, that is to say human.

The party and the French Cancan, an English dance!

This dance has for origin a dance called Cancan (or coin coin) put in fashion in France in 1850 by the dancer Celeste Mogador. It was forbidden in France because at that time women wore petticoats and slit panties under their long dresses and frou-frou. Lifting the leg was considered indecent, immodest and erotic.
But the English producer and director of theater and music hall Charles Morton was inspired by this and invented in 1868 a new form of ballet that he called the "French cancan", supposed to arouse the English-speaking public by the evocation of the Parisian-French sexual libertinage. It is performed mainly on wild tunes including the famous Galop infernal d'Orphée aux Enfers by Jacques Offenbach the author composer then fashionable in Paris. He was born on June 20, 1819 in Cologne and died on October 5, 1880 in Paris.

The French-Cancan, therefore, came back to France to be "stylized" (rules, rhythms and costumes) and reach the worldwide success it still has today.

The dancers and other "chahuteuses" (as they are called) dance on wild rhythms and play with their "gambettes" partly revealed. But from the beginning, the men also have the star, with Valentin le Désossé. But Louise Weber, nicknamed "la Goulue", became a real "star" before her time because of her audacity and energy. A permanent headliner, she is the symbol of the cancan and the Moulin Rouge.

French-Cancan dancers of international renown

Famous dancers with "personalized" with colorful names will remain in the history of the Moulin-Rouge, including La Goulue, Jane Avril, la Môme Fromage, Grille d'Égout, Nini Pattes en l'Air and Yvette Guilbert. The Moulin-Rouge is a place loved by artists, painters and other celebrities, the most emblematic being Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. His posters and paintings ensured the Moulin-Rouge a rapid and international reputation.

The start and the great moments of the Moulin-Rouge Show

The first years of the Moulin Rouge were marked by extravagant shows, inspired by the circus, and famous attractions such as the Petomaniac. Concerts and dances were also organized every day at 10 pm.

On April 19, 1890, the first revue was entitled Circassiens et Circassiennes. On October 26, 1890, the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, who was on a private visit to Paris, booked a table to discover this quadrille whose reputation had already spread across the Channel. Recognizing him, La Goulue, leg in the air and head in the skirts, launches without hesitation: "Ohé, Galles, you pay for the champagne!"

In 1891, La Goulue was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's first poster for the Moulin-Rouge. In 1893, the Quat'z'Arts ball caused a scandal with its parade of naked Cleopatra surrounded by equally naked girls. The show was banned.

On November 12, 1897, the Moulin-Rouge exceptionally closes its doors because of the funeral of its director and co-creator Charles Zidler.

In 1900, foreigners from all five continents were attracted by the Universal Exhibition and flocked to the "Moulin Rouge". Back home, they made Paris the modern Babylon, the capital of pleasures and the "p'tites dames de Paris". In all the capitals grew like mushrooms "Moulins rouges" and "Montmartre". The last ball at the Moulin Rouge took place on November 29, 1902. It was then transformed into a concert theater.

Period "operettas and big shows"

In January 1903, the Moulin-Rouge reopened its doors after renovation and development work by Édouard-Jean Niermans, the most Parisian of Belle Époque architects.

Until the First World War, the Moulin Rouge became a veritable temple of operetta. The shows followed one another: "Voluptata", "La Feuille de Vigne", "le Rêve d'Égypte", "Tais-toi tu m'affoles"... and many other revues. On January 3, 1907, during the show "le Rêve d'Égypte", Colette exchanges a kiss on stage with her mistress the Duchess of Morny (Mathilde de Morny known as "Missy"). Considered scandalous, the play is banned.

On July 29, 1907, Mistinguett made her first appearance on the stage of the Moulin Rouge in "La Revue de la Femme". Very quickly, her talent bursts into the open.

The Moulin Rouge was destroyed by fire on February 27, 1915. It was not until 1921 that reconstruction work began.

The "Mistinguett" period at the Moulin-Rouge Show

In 1923, Raphaël Beretta proposed to re-establish the music-hall at the Moulin-Rouge. The Moulin then rose in the middle of the facade, supported by a round part decorated with oval skylights in the upper part.

Gesmar, 20 years old, became a decorator. His drawings and models will remain permanently associated with the image of the Moulin-Rouge. Jacques-Charles and Mistinguett were the originators of creations that became mythical: "la Revue Mistinguett" (1925), "Ça, c'est Paris" (1926) and "Paris qui tourne" (1928).

At the Moulin Rouge, Mistinguett created many songs that have become eternal, including Valencia, Ça, c'est Paris, Il m'a vue nue, On m'suit, the latter with Jean Gabin.  Mistinguett became "co-director" with her partner Earl Leslie and director of the sewing workshop.

An amusing anecdote following an incident that occurred in 1927. During a show where the dancers in tight-fitting outfits came out of giant cakes, they then had to dance and sing. To get from the top of the cakes to the stage, they had to walk on a layer of the cake, covered with very slippery custard. And once their shoes (with stilettos) were coated with cream, the girls could not stand up and kept stumbling. And since they were instructed not to remove their pumps at any cost, they spent the entire show slipping and ending up with their butts on the floor. The show was a real disaster.

The post-Mistinguett. The Moulin-Rouge Show adapts

In 1929, Mistinguett retired from the stage and left the Moulin Rouge. The 1,500-seat theater became one of the largest movie theaters in Europe, with Music Hall artists as opening acts. The "Lew Leslie's Black Birds" revue, performed by a troupe of one hundred black artists, accompanied by the Jazz Plantation Orchestra, was performed at the Moulin-Rouge between June and August 1929.

The old ballroom survives and is transformed into an ultra modern night club in 1937. That same year, the Cotton Club, which was all the rage in New York, performed at the Moulin-Rouge, as did the bandleader Ray Ventura and his band of college students.

Between 1939 and 1945, the Second World War interrupted the "bouillonnement" that was the Moulin-Rouge Show. It became a dance hall, the Robinson Moulin-Rouge. A few days before the liberation of Paris in 1944, Edith Piaf, whose talent was already recognized, performed on the stage of the Moulin-Rouge, with Yves Montand, a beginner who was imposed on her.

On June 22, 1951, Georges France, known as Jo France, founder of the Balajo, acquired the Moulin-Rouge and undertook extensive renovation work. The dances, the attractions and the famous French cancan are back at the Moulin-Rouge.

On May 19, 1953, the 25th Bal des Petits Lits blancs, organized by the novelist Guy des Cars, took place at the Moulin-Rouge in the presence of the President of the Republic, Vincent Auriol, and with, for the first time on a European stage, Bing Crosby. The evening attracted 1,200 artists and stars from around the world, including Josephine Baker who sang J'ai deux amours.

Between 1951 and 1960, the party continued at the Moulin-Rouge Show. Famous artists perform there: Luis Mariano, Charles Trenet, Charles Aznavour, Line Renaud, Bourvil, Fernand Raynaud and Lena Horne. The famous French Cancan, always present, is soon choreographed by Ruggero Angeletti in 1955. Doris Haug founded the "Doriss Girls" troupe at the Moulin-Rouge in 1957. They were 4 at the beginning, they are now 100, including 40 on stage.
Two years later, the Moulin-Rouge was transformed with the creation and fitting out of a new kitchen area to offer an increasingly international clientele a "dinner show" with a gastronomic menu and revues that would acquire a worldwide reputation.
At the beginning of 1960, the "Japanese Revue" created the event. Entirely composed of Japanese artists, the revue launched kabuki in Montmartre.

1962-1988: prosperity and continuity always in the variety

In 1962, Jacki Clérico succeeded his father in taking over the management of the Moulin Rouge. It was the beginning of a new era: expansion of the hall, installation of a giant aquarium on stage and the first aquatic ballet. The revue "Cancan" was conceived by Doris Haug and Ruggero Angeletti the same year.

Since 1963 and the success of the review "Frou-Frou", Jacki Clérico, by superstition, chooses only review titles beginning with the letter F. And of course, in each review, the legendary French-Cancan is present.

On September 7, 1979, the Moulin-Rouge Show which had become a Parisian landmark, celebrated its 90th anniversary. On stage, for the first time in Paris, Ginger Rogers is surrounded by many stars including Thierry Le Luron, Dalida, Charles Aznavour, Jean-Claude Brialy, George Chakiris, the Village People or Zizi Jeanmaire.
On November 23, 1981, the Moulin-Rouge exceptionally closes its doors in order to present its show to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II. On February 4, 1982, Liza Minnelli led an exceptional show, staging for the first time, the British Fenella Masse Mathews.
Two galas were organized in 1984: one for Dean Martin and the other for Frank Sinatra. On December 1, 1986, the world's most famous classical dancer, Mikhail Barychnikov, created an original ballet by Maurice Béjart at the Moulin Rouge.

Since the centenary of the Moulin-Rouge Show

On February 20, 1988, on the occasion of the centenary of the Moulin Rouge, the premiere of the revue "Formidable" is a "Royal Performance in Paris". It is one of the most prestigious official British events, in which a member of the royal family participates every year in London. For the second time, it took place in France, at the Moulin Rouge. Chaired in 1983 by Princess Anne, Prince Edward was the guest of honor on February 20, 1988. In the spring of 1989, in London, an exceptional performance of the Moulin Rouge before the Prince and Princess of Wales.
On October 6 of that year, a Centennial Gala was organized with Charles Aznavour, Lauren Bacall, Ray Charles, Tony Curtis, Ella Fitzgerald, the Gipsy Kings, Margaux Hemingway, Barbara Hendricks, Dorothy Lamour, Jerry Lewis, Jane Russell, Charles Trenet, Esther Williams

In 1994, a Cartier gala was organized to benefit the Artists Against AIDS Foundation with a private concert by Elton John. In 1995, a Lancôme gala was organized for the launch of the perfume "Poème" with Juliette Binoche. Private concert of Charles Aznavour and Jessye Norman. On November 14, 1999, a last performance of the Centennial Revue "Formidable", which welcomed, from 1988 to 1999, more than 4.5 million spectators, is given. The new revue "Féerie" was presented for the first time on December 23, 1999.

The Moulin Rouge revues over the years

  • Cancan (March 20, 1962)
  • Frou-frou (April 1, 1963)
  • Frisson (April 15, 1965)
  • Fascination (April 15, 1967)
  • Fantastic (March 20, 1970)
  • Festival (March 29, 1973)
  • Follement (April 1, 1976)
  • Frenzy (December 22, 1979)
  • Women, women, women (February 26, 1983)
  • Formidable. La revue du centenaire (February 12, 1989)
  • Féerie (December 23, 1999)

The Moulin Rouge again...

He was the subject of more than 20 fiction films, 7 documentaries, television programs. It has also been sung by many artists and can be found in many paintings. It has also been a source of inspiration in many countries, especially in Las Vegas, Ireland and Germany.

The records of the Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge is one of the largest champagne customers in the world, with about 240,000 bottles per year between 2009 and 2014 and then 360,000 bottles per year mentioned in 2015.

The cast of the Moulin Rouge, the Parisian French Cancan cabaret, also holds six world records, including the most leg lifts. In 30 seconds flat, the forty-four dancers in the troupe managed to lift their legs twenty-nine times. Another record is 62 big gaps jumped in a row in 30 seconds and also 34 "mops" each in 30 seconds ... It's up to you to find out what a "mop" is in the music hall business!




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