ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Le Moulin Rouge

Updated on July 13, 2016

Visit Le Moulin Rouge in Paris

Paris is famous for its museums, cuisine, architecture and fashions. But just down the hill from Montmartre, in the city's eighteenth district, sits another landmark that you should see, even if you don't go inside for a show. The Moulin Rouge - so named for the famous red windmill that sits on top of the building- is the historic location of the original can-can dancers. Before Vegas, there was the Moulin Rouge. Fabulously costumed beautiful dancers, glitzy in rhinestones and feathers, kick up their heels to the regular delight of audiences.

The shows at the Moulin Rouge have been entertaining guests since the late 1800s. Originally, the shows were bawdy and naughty. Dancers would be pantiless at times, flashing their bits to wildly appreciative men. The original Moulin Rouge also included a hidden feature: a gigantic stucco elephant, into which men could climb for private shows in the creature's belly. No women allowed for these shows, except for the entertainers. The elephant was situated at the back of the building, and not visible from the street. Sadly, the pachyderm is gone now. When the Moulin Rouge was rebuilt in the early 20th century, it went to an elephant graveyard.

The Moulin Rouge

Le Moulin Rouge Poster by Jules Grun
Le Moulin Rouge Poster by Jules Grun
Le Moulin Rouge Poster by Henri Toulouse-Latrec
Le Moulin Rouge Poster by Henri Toulouse-Latrec

Entertainment at Le Moulin Rouge

The entertainment these days is much cleaner. Dancers still do the can-can, but are fully covered in all areas. Women and men alike can enjoy dinner and a show, including over 60 dancers and thousands of costumes. However, the history of the Moulin Rouge still lives on. Sex shops populate the surrounding Pigalle district just doors away from the cabaret.

Many movies have been made to showcase the Moulin Rouge and its culture. The most recent is the 2001 hit Moulin Rouge! starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. If you haven't enjoyed this production, it is a trip worth taking. Glorious costumes and magnificent singing (both by the actors themselves). But be prepared for some drug-like scenes, courtesy of the Green Fairy (Absinthe). Other films include Moulin Rouge, a 1953 production about the life of artist Henri Toulouse-Latrec, and Can-Can, starring Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, released in 1960.

The windmill on top of the building actually turns, flashing its lights and drawing crowds simply for that spectacle. Windmills were actually populated throughout this area of the city at one time, which is windier due to its location near the Butte Montmarte, the highest point in Paris. Montmartre itself is a haven for artists and bohemians, one of its most famous being Henri de Toulouse-Latrec. Latrec created many posters and drawings of the Moulin Rouge and is said to have finely illustrated the spirit of the belle epoque (beautiful era) of Paris. You can view some of his works at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

Whether you wish to go watch a show, or just see the famous red windmill from the street, you should venture into the red-light district of Paris. Its only a few steps away from the Basilica du Sacre Couer on Montmartre, and a world away. Close your eyes and imagine...

The Elephant at the back of the Moulin Rouge circa 1899
The Elephant at the back of the Moulin Rouge circa 1899

Moulin Rouge Movies and Music

Dancers at the Moulin Rouge
Dancers at the Moulin Rouge

© 2008 Stephanie Marshall


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)