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Cabaret > Revue Cabarets > Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge
On the border between dream and magic… The most mythical of Parisian cabarets invites you to experience a fairytale-like stroll that you are not about to forget. For one night, let go and be enchanted by the Moulin Rouge… Opened in 1889, painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, revisited by Baz Luhrmann in 2001, this place of parties and pleasure is also the birth place of the famous French cancan, and home to the almost as famous “Goulue”. The décors are magnificent, the colours and the atmosphere warm and lively, a night at the Moulin Rouge is truly enchanting at any moment. Before your dazzled eyes, Paris is born again with sparkles and strass in all the tableaux of the «Fairy» revue that you will discover. Nothing is too beautiful for this place that is famous throughout the world, paying tribute to one of the most beautiful French traditions: the Music-Hall. You will no doubt be charmed by this unique show with magnificent costumes, enchanting tableaux and French Cancan, the signature for this establishment! The cabaret tradition is not truly a gourmet one, but Chef Laurent Tarridec, takes on the challenge: pleasure for the eyes and for the taste buds. “Each night at the Moulin Rouge is a party night. What we serve should be as good and beautiful as the tableaux, the costumes, the dancers. The plates should sparkle on the tables as much as the dancers do on stage”. Demanding cuisine, noble products, elegant presentation, the cuisine is in itself an exceptional moment that could be compared with the best tables in town... A night at the Moulin Rouge is a promise… the promise of pleasure, of a party, a dream while awake… Here is the ideal place for an exceptional and unforgettable night.


Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge


On the 6th October, at the foot of Butte Montmartre, the atmosphere was pretty festive: a new music-hall was opening in the Jardin de Paris, the Moulin Rouge, and it wasn't going unnoticed.?The public came in mass to Place Blanche, to discover this extravagant place with its huge dance floor, mirrors everywhere, and galleries that were the last word in elegance, to mix with the riffraff and girls of easy virtue, in a garden decorated with a big elephant with rides on donkeys for the ladies'pleasure. There was such a wild atmosphere that the show was not only on the stage but all around : aristocrats and louts in caps had fun side by side, in an atmosphere of total euphoria. ?The masters of the place were Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler. They nicknamed their establishment Le Premier Palais des Femmes (the first Women Palace) and bet on their success, enthusiastically claiming to whoever listened that the Moulin Rouge would become a temple of music and dance. On the very first day, their hopes were fulfilled, the other music-halls just had to learn !!!
The balls at the Moulin Rouge quickly became highly prized events. ?For the grand finale, the public discovered, with overwhelming enthusiasm, a new dance, the French Cancan with its dancers, the Chahuteuses (the unruly girls), and its boisterous rhythm, which, to the great displeasure of some people, really made heads turn !!! In the Guide to Paris nightlife, edition 1898, the French Cancan dancers are described as an army of young girls in Paris who dance this divine hullabaloo the way its fame demands it... with such an elasticity when they launch their legs upwards that we are allowed to presume that they are at least as flexible with morals...?Amongst these figureheads of Parisian life, some will go down in history, like the famous La Goulue, immortalised by Toulouse-Lautrec.
The first ten years of the Moulin Rouge led, from one to another in a whirlpool of, ever more extravagant nights. It was inspired by the circus, whose attractions were shown at the cabaret - such as that of the Pétomane (the 'farting' man), who went down in history... ?In addition to the French Cancan, the first real revues are performed: e.g. the revue Circassiens et Circassiennes, in 1890. Every night, people come for the 10 p.m concerts; the Quat'zarts ball and its procession; a nude Cleopatra carried by four men and surrounded by nude girls who lay, languid, on flower beds... ?A beginning trumpeted that lost some of its pomp by the new century. On the 26 December 1902, the last ball occurred in general indifference. The Quadrille was no longer fashionable, the ball of the Moulin Rouge became a concert-theatre under the leadership of M. Paul-Louis Flers, a well-known revue-director in Paris who wanted to turn the Moulin Rouge into a more prestigious place. He has run the famous establishment for... 9 months.?Many managers came after him; that will not keep the Moulin Rouge from regaining its former popularity.
Untill the beginning of World War I, the Moulin Rouge has become a true temple dedicated to operetta. ?There again, the music of Offenbach used to accompany successive shows in lightness, contentment and joy : the public was present for dreaming, laughing, crying and feel emotions at the sight of 'Voluptata', 'La Feuille de Vigne', 'Le Rêve d'Egypte', 'Tais-toi tu m'affoles'... and many other revues with titles each time more evocative. ?The Automotive fair (yes !) on the 7th December 1904, many people from upper-classes gathered, who sang, danced and regretted the end of a so delightful night. Whereas in 1907, the charming novice Mistinguett, makes her debuts on the stage of the Moulin Rouge in 'La Revue de la Femme'. That was only the beginning of the long story. Quickly, her exceptionnal talent blasted in public : as she imitates the langourous jig of Max Dearly, she was the instigator of the famous Valse Chaloupée (swaying waltz) and then became a shining Star in the Music-Hall's firmament.
After World War I, Francis Salabert ran the Moulin Rouge. Since he was more of a businessman than a showman, he employed Pierre Foucret to hold the purse strings and left Jacques-Charles - the No. 1 revue-director of that time - the assignment of brightening up the "Great Revue". He dreamt of setting-up a show with american dancing-girls. After much discussion, he succeeded in convincing Gertrude Hoffmann, then director of the Hoffmann ballet, to join him, and they started to create the revue 'New York- Montmartre'.?At the top of the bill were the Dolly Sisters, Rosy and Jenny, the first twin sisters in the history of music-hall. The 'Broadway style' made a big impact when it entered the Parisian scene... ?On the night of the first show, Mistinguett, then known as the Queen of Music-Hall, was in the audience. She understood at once that a true revolution was happening... ?Jacques-Charles and Mistinguett had a stormy but very profitable relationship. Very close to each other in life and inspired co-workers on the stage, their story was punctuated with quarrels and make-ups, with disputes and reconciliations... A turbulent passion that gave birth to legendary creations : the "Revue Mistinguett" in 1925, the famous 'Ça c'est Paris' in 1926 and many others. Great Nights with the Miss and her Girls, animated the Parisian nights until 1929, when the two main characters retired from the stage. ?Meanwhile, the French Cancan, which had regained prestige, was turning the public's head in the Ballroom, in the lower ground floor of the Moulin Rouge. A certain Gesmar, only 20 years old, became a master in costume making. His drawings and models, which displayed pure and breathtaking beauty, remained associated with the Moulin Rouge's image. ?During that time, a young man named Gabin was making his debut on stage as the quintessential 'badboy' in Paris...
After Mistinguett's departure, nothing would ever be the same in the world of music-hall... ?The 7th Art - as French people call the cinema - overwhelmed the 'Great Revues' and the ballroom became an ultra modern night-club.. however, the Moulin Rouge still had some great moments : the acclaimed Cotton Club, which had had great success in New York, the nights with Ray Ventura and his Collegiens... some unforgettable moments before the dark years to come. ?1939-1945 : Paris did not have much fun under the German's heel. The only ray of sunshine, a few days before the Liberation of Paris, was Edith Piaf, whose talent was becoming renowned, image who sang on the stage of the Moulin Rouge. In the first part of her show, a young man with a kind of "Cow Boy" was scheduled... Yves Montand. She later said about him : 'this guy who behaves as if he was in the plains of the Far West is nothing but a singer from Marseille... the height of vulgarity !.'?He said in return that she was a merchant of depression. Exchange of kind words... but the Great Lady was not long to understand the potential of this lanky boy, who needed just a little help to change his appearance... Later on, he admitted then she had made him save time.
It was six years after World War II before the Moulin Rouge recovered its former magnificence.?On the 22nd of June 1951, Georges France, alias Jo France, the founder of Balajo, bought the Bal du Moulin Rouge and set about renovating in order to allow the famous establishment to hold again the most wonderful nights in Paris, and regain its splendour of long-ago.?Dance parties, entertainments and receptions for charity were back... among them, the 25th Bal des Petits Lits Blancs (for hospitalized children), on the 19th May 1963 was a red letter day : some 1200 artists and stars came from every corner of the world to honour Guy des Cars, the organizer of that night. "
In 1955, Joseph and Louis Clerico became managers of the establishment and were eager to continue the great tradition of the 'Bal Populaire'. They joined together with Jean Bauchet, a child of the theatre, to accompany this 'old and respectable lady', still lively, into the modern times.?A small revolution occured in the palace: a kitchen was fitted. The 'dinner-show' of the Moulin Rouge became one of the most sought Parisian attractions. As the public really enjoyed this new option, the establishment's fame spread abroad. From every corner of the world, people came to see the Moulin Rouge, as one of the great monuments of the most beautiful capital in the world... ?Both newcomers full of promise and prestigious stars were top of the bill : Charles Trenet, Charles Aznavour, Line Renaud, Bourvil, Roger Pierre and Jean-Marc Thibault, Fernand Raynaud... All of them expressed their talent on the most famous stage in France.?Elvis Presley himself never came to Paris without spending a little time at the Moulin Rouge. It is said that he had a crush on a French Cancan dancer. The famous quadrille, then under the leadership of the demanding Doris Haug, kept winning over people's hearts.
In 1962, Jacki Clérico, the son of Joseph Clercio, took-over the succession as head of the most famous cabaret in the world. The Moulin Rouge had taken back its legendary place. ?The sanctuary of Place Blanche, famous for its long history, came back once again with flair. Two years after his arrival at the Moulin Rouge, Jacki Clérico embarked on a new adventure : the construction of a giant aquarium where nude dancers moved about like delightful mermaids in front of dumfounded spectators... ?He selected only names beginning with an F for his revues : then due to superstition, nowadays it remains a tradition. ?Frou Frou, Frisson, Fascination, Fantastic, Frénésie... each one succeeded the others, until the unforgettable Formidable, the revue of the Centenary, for which the public is still enthusiastic today. Crowned heads, international bigwigs, stars of show biz... all of this high society met up on Place Blanche on the 12th February 1988, to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of this venerable institution dedicated to feast and pleasure... wishing it a long and joyful life.



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82 boulevard de Clichy
75018 PARIS 18


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