Moulin Rouge

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The Moulin Rouge
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec: La Goulue arriving at the Moulin Rouge (1892)
Poster for the Moulin Rouge by Jules Chéret

Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) is a traditional cabaret and nightclub which began in 1889. It is on Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement (district of the city). This is near the French quarter of Montmartre in the red-light district of Paris called Pigalle. The theatre can be recognized by the large red windmill on its roof.

The Moulin Rouge puts on cabaret shows every day. It is where the famous French dance, the Can-can, was first performed. It is also famous because many artists and writers have often gone there. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec designed many posters for the cabaret. Because of this, the management always set aside a table where he could have a meal and watch the show.

The ingredients for its success are said to be: [1]

  • A revolutionary architecture for the auditorium that allowed rapid changes of décor and where everyone could mix;
  • Festive champagne evenings where people danced and were entertained thanks to amusing acts that changed regularly, such as the Pétomane;
  • A new dance inspired by the quadrille which becomes more and more popular: the Can-can, danced to a fastly moving rhythm by dancers in titillating costumes;
  • Famous dancers whom history still remembers: La Goulue, Jane Avril, la Môme Fromage, Grille d'Egout, Nini Pattes en l'Air, Yvette Guilbert ;
  • A place loved by artists, of whom the most iconic was Toulouse-Lautrec. His posters and paintings secured rapid and international fame for the Moulin Rouge.

Several movies have been made about the Moulin Rouge. The latest is Moulin Rouge! directed by Baz Luhrmann. Jean Renoir made another film about the Moulin Rouge.

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