A History of Moulin Rouge

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Moulin Rouge History

From cinema to music hall to theater to cabaret, Moulin Rouge has undergone many transformations in the many years since its opening. Founded in the year 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller, it is a 129-year-old building that welcomes approximately a million tourists every year.

The founders of Moulin Rouge aimed at creating a place completely dedicated to entertainment. With its extravagant decorations and unconventional architectural style, the building was sure to attract hordes of people looking for fun. As it is located in the fashionable 18th district of Paris, it got huge attention as soon as it opened, and cabaret got a solid reputation as well, which in turn inspired international artists like Auguste Renoir and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Earlier, Moulin Rouge used to hold champagne-filled parties whenever famous dancers performed. This was the time when the famous quartet French Cancan was born. During these shows, Moulin Rouge also served drinks for the spectators. At times, some of them even took to jigging a few moves on the dance floor.

In 1915, after a catastrophic fire attacked Moulin Rouge, the theater was rebuilt. This is the time when the actress-singer-dancer Mistinguet became the Co-director of the place. However, when she resigned during World War II, 1500 seats were removed, and the place turned into a dance club. At this time, Moulin Rouge was not so prosperous, even though artists such as Yves Montand and Edith Piaf performed occasionally.

The place went through a renovation during the 1950’s, and in 1951, Georges France, promoter of the cabaret’s latest look, and Vincent Auriol, the former President of the French Republic, inaugurated the new cabaret. The main goal of this renovation was to regain the cabaret’s soul, and make this a place where the public could have a good time enjoying shows by great artists. The new cabaret started with performances from artists like Charles Aznavour, Charles Trenet, and Bourvil.

Nowadays, shows called as ‘revues’, and many performances divided into numerous scenes, can be watched while dining. Féérie and 80 artists’ shows are also held here every night. If you are planning to catch a show at Moulin Rouge during your Paris city tour, make sure to get your seats reserved in advance, and have fun enjoying all the amazing performances by talented artists.