A photo of the Iconic Moulin Rouge in Paris
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Is Moulin Rouge Paris Worth It? Moulin Rouge Review [2024]

I went to Moulin Rouge for the first time recently, and when I looked up ticket prices, my jaw just about dropped on the floor. It makes sense, it’s one of the most iconic shows on earth. How much do you really know about the nighttime entertainment scene in other countries? Everyone knows what Moulin Rouge is and that’s going to come at a price.

But is Moulin Rouge Paris worth it for you? It depends—I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone and I’ll get into full details of who would really enjoy it and who I think would be better off skipping it in this review. So feel free to shout at Alexa to play Lady Marmalade and let’s figure out together if the iconic Parisian burlesque show is worth spending your dollars on.

Moulin Rouge drawing

Moulin Rouge Paris History

In 1889, French businessmen Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller opened the Moulin Rouge. It was an instant sensation, quickly becoming a symbol of Parisian nightlife and bohemian culture. The Moulin Rouge was known for its extravagant shows, featuring can-can dancers, daring acrobats, and even a giant elephant! You won’t find the elephant there today, but it maintains a proud tradition of acrobatics and can-can dancing.

The building’s windmill is a nod to its origins as a flour mill. The windmill quickly became synonymous with the Moulin Rouge, drawing in crowds from all over the world who were eager to experience the spectacle of Parisian nightlife.

The early days of the Moulin Rouge were a whirlwind of excitement and scandal. The shows were daring and provocative, pushing the boundaries of societal norms. The can-can dancers, with their high kicks and frilly petticoats, became the Moulin Rouge’s signature act, captivating audiences with their energy and charm.

Moulin Rouge attracted artists, writers, and celebrities from around the world in the 20th century. It became a cultural melting pot, where creativity and revelry intertwined. The Moulin Rouge even survived two world wars. One thing has remained true throughout the ages: its ability to captivate and enthral audiences with its unique blend of spectacle, music, and dance.

Is Moulin Rouge Paris Worth It?

If you’ve had Moulin Rouge on your bucket list for a long time, you won’t be disappointed. The four-act show will live up to every dream and expectation that you have for it because it is the ultimate in French can-can and a solid example of the burlesque tradition in France.

I also think you’ll enjoy the show if you’re going as part of a bachelorette party. Everyone gets into it so even if dance shows aren’t normally your thing, there’s plenty of great music, and entertainment, and watching your friends enjoy themselves is really fun. I went to Moulin Rouge with a bachelorette party and I’m so glad that that was how I experienced it. Moulin Rouge wasn’t a bucket list item for me, but we all really enjoyed ourselves and it was a highlight of the trip for us. It’s a great girls’ trip activity that you’ll be talking about on the plane ride home.

For couples, whether or not Moulin Rouge is worth it for you for you really depends on you and your partner’s sensitivities. Moulin Rouge is a show with burlesque-leaning elements to it, so you will see some things. If it’s going to make you or your partner feel insecure, cause a fight, or if you’re not comfortable with your partner potentially ogling and not being that present with you during the show, then don’t spoil your vacation and give this a pass.

However, on the flip side, it can be a great bonding experience for couples. My partner and I went together with the bachelor and bachelorette party as one of the joint activities and we chose to sit together while some of the women and men wanted to stick to their respective gender groups and we had such a good time. We were able to talk, make little gestures to each other, share little comments and we had a wonderful time.

If you’re doing a multi-generational family trip, the question I’d ask myself is whether or not you have any conservative or proper members in your family. Let’s put it this way: If you feel uncomfortable watching HBO around this family member, you will feel that way times ten at a Moulin Rouge show, and I’d recommend skipping. However, if your grandparents and aunties and uncles are chill, then this is a great nighttime activity for the family! But maybe go to the dinner or 9pm show, because 11pm might be pushing it for some of the older members of your party.

If you’re well-versed in the dance world or, go to a lot of dance-centric shows or have spent time watching similarly-themed shows on the Vegas Strip, I think you’ll be disappointed by this show and I would recommend skipping it. While it’s a high-energy show, the show might feel a little dated and you don’t get that same memorable connection to the songs that you do in other shows and because they’re trying to portray a certain era, it can feel a little like an outdated show on the Vegas strip. Crazy Horse will be a better fit for you or you can avail yourself of a local drag show because Parisian drag is quite different to North American drag.

If you’re a solo traveler, the show is more fun when you see it with other people, so I’d see if I could find a Facebook group of expats or other travellers that will be in town and see if you can get a buddy to go with you. Travel is a great opportunity to meet other people and this way, it takes some of the pressure off of that initial interaction as most of the time, your attention will be solely on the show.

Moulin Rouge during the daytime

Pros and Cons of Moulin Rouge Paris

There are a lot of important things to factor in before you decide to go or not to go. This is a quick list of some of the most important things to consider, especially if you’re a North American traveller who isn’t going to return to France as often as I do (perks of being a polyglot is I can travel to work on stories and consult abroad). You want to really think about if this is going to be the right option for you.

Pros

  • Iconic attraction (the most famous Cabaret in Paris)
  • Once-in-a-lifetime experience
  • Evening shows that start after a lot of attractions close
  • Talented dancers
  • Great costumes
  • Historic venue
  • In Montmartre, which has a lot to see
  • Close to the 9th district’s shopping centres

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • Almost always sold out (requires advance booking)
  • Crowded seating
  • Not an experience for solo travelers
  • Lots of tourists
  • Not the best for members of your travel party with delicate sensibilities
  • Not the most family-friendly environment

Moulin Rouge Tickets

These are the 2024 prices for Moulin Rouge in Paris:

  • 7pm Dinner Show: Regular: 190€ (with extra options available for a fee) / VIP: 420€
  • 9pm Show: Regular: 115€ / VIP: 210€ (+10€ for 1/2 bottle of champagne)
  • 11pm Show: Regular: 102€ / VIP: 210€ (+10€ for 1/2 bottle of champagne)

Moulin Rouge Paris VIP vs. Normal Ticket

This is one of the few times that I will ever say to go VIP. Moulin Rouge is an experience you’ll probably only have once in your life, so if you’re going to splurge, this is where to do it. Why? There’s a few key reasons:

  • You get to avoid the queue and go straight to your seat
  • Front row balcony seats with an uninterrupted view of the stage
  • A separate area that has table service
  • Abottle of billecart-salmon rosé champagne
  • Macarons, gifts, and water.

They do make sure you feel like a VIP when you get the VIP ticket, so I would highly recommend it.

The Moulin Rouge Dinner Show

Moulin Rouge does have a 7pm dinner service, but I would personally skip it. You want to have your full focus and attention on Moulin Rouge, and you’ll constantly be looking down to take bites of your food. That’s not an experience that I like to have, especially if I’m paying that much.

Go to dinner before your show nearby because most Parisian restaurants close early. Best to get a reservation for 7pm at a restaurant that’s no more than 4 or 5 blocks away in case service runs late. If like me and you have IBS then I would eat after the show and just make peace with the fact that you’re going to end up eating fast food or it will be more of a rushed service.

Where to get Moulin Rouge Paris tickets cheap

The best way to get cheap Moulin Rouge tickets is also the riskiest way to get Moulin Rouge tickets: Wait until the day of the show. You can go in the morning and see if they have availability for any shows later in the evening. You can sometimes get tickets half-off the day of. But especially if you’re travelling in the peak season of June through August, do not try to do this. Shows are always sold out.

If this is an activity you really want to do, I recommend seeing where else you can cut in your budget to pre-book Moulin Rouge tickets in advance as it’s well worth it.

Painting of Moulin Rouge

FAQ About The Moulin Rouge Show in Paris

How long is the Moulin Rouge show in Paris?

Moulin Rouge is a two-hour long show, so plan to be at the venue for about three hours from queueing up to getting to the exit after the show’s done.

Is there a minimum age to attend Moulin Rouge in Paris?

Everyone can attend the Moulin Rouge show in Paris, but minors under the age of 6 need to be accompanied by an adult. The venue does feature female dancers who are unclothed from the waist up during one section of the show, so please be aware of this.

As a person who has attended the show, I would not recommend bringing children as it can be very loud for them and there will unfortunately be some other patrons that get upset about any noise or crying or disturbances caused by kids moreso than similar venues. I watched a couple go up to a mom with her child of about four or five and encourage her to leave. My personal recommendation would be to bring teenagers, as they’ll have the ability to appreciate what they’re seeing and the patience to sit through the two hour show.

Moulin Rouge Paris Showtimes

Moulin Rouge has showtimes at 9pm and 11pm and there’s a dinner show at 7pm. Moulin Rouge operates 7 days a week.

Where is Moulin Rouge in Paris?

Moulin Rouge is located in Pigalle/the 18th arrondissement of Paris. Moulin Rouge is located at 82 Bd de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France.

The district of Montmartre, where all the Impressonist artists lived and worked, is nearby, so I would recommend taking a trip over to Montmartre that day. Make sure you stop by the basilica in Montmartre as it’s a trip that’s well worth your time!

Is Moulin Rouge in Paris in English?

No, the majority of the show is in French because Moulin Rouge is a French club. However, you can understand the show via the movements of the dancers and also based on the tempo of the songs. People from all over the world enjoy the show.

I do speak fluent French, so I do think I was at a bit of an advantage, but the couple next to us was from the United States and they did not speak anything except for a few key phrases of French and they were having the time of their lives.

Crazy Horse or Moulin Rouge?

I would pick Moulin Rouge of Crazy Horse. The Crazy Horse show was great and you can read more of my thoughts on that show in this article I wrote for Business Insider about what splurges were worth it and weren’t, but if you aren’t a frequent Paris traveller like I am, you need to pick a winner and I’ve never spoken to someone who went to Moulin Rouge and were disappointed.

The best way I can put it is this: If you go to Crazy Horse, some part of you will always wonder if you should’ve gone to Moulin Rouge. If you go to Moulin Rouge, you won’t worry about whether you should’ve gone to Crazy Horse instead.

What’s the difference between Moulin Rouge and Crazy Horse?

I would say that if you want to see burlesque, then I would go to Crazy Horse. Moulin Rouge focuses on the can-can and burlesque happens to be a part of the show. At Crazy Horse, you will feel like you’re watching more of a burlesque-forward performance. Crazy Horse also feels like it has fresher, more modern choreography.

Where is the best place to sit for Moulin Rouge?

If you aren’t getting a VIP ticket, then sitting central is critical. Personally, I wouldn’t sit on the lower level but the one above that as it can be hard on the neck to crane up for two hours.

What to wear to Moulin Rouge

What to Wear Moulin Rouge Paris

If you’re a light packer, be aware that you’re probably going to have to pack a few extra items for Paris to head into this iconic venue. Or you can take advantage of one of France’s many thrift stores and donate your outfit. But there are a few items that will prevent you from entering the venue so make sure you take not!

Dress code Moulin Rouge Paris

Moulin Rouge is one of the few places other than nice restaurants and an evening cruise along the Seine where people make an effort to dress up. One of the dancers at Moulin Rouge, @alliegoodbun on TikTok (I love her account she’s worth a follow) has a TikTok where she describes the dress code in detail that I highly recommend you watch.

You can’t wear:

  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers
  • A hat

You won’t be allowed inside with any of these items. The hat you can remove, but the rest are strict no-gos.

A nice dress, pair of pants and a shirt, maybe a bit of sparkle or sequin will help you fit right in. I’m a fan of trying to dress Parisian when I’m in Paris, so I went with a classic black slip dress, strappy wedges, and the matching pink headbands we were all wearing for the bachelorette party, and I picked some classic bangles because I thought the extra bit of cheer from them shaking would be fun and on theme for the performers.

How to Get to Moulin Rouge in Paris

Metro stop for Moulin Rouge in Paris

The closest Metro stop for Moulin Rouge is on Line 2, Blanche. You can see a map below showing you where to walk when you get of the station, but you’ll be able to see the Moulin Rouge clearly if you look around! Go in the direction of the round point.

Nearest Metro station to Moulin Rouge map

You can also get off at Place de Clichy, which is a bit of a farther walk if you want to take in the area.

Taxi to Moulin Rouge

You can ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you in advance, take an Uber, or simply go to a nearby busy street and flag one down or use the taxi stand. Cabs are very easily accessible in Paris as long as you aren’t on a super small side street. They’re also quite affordable and will likely run you just 10 or 20 Euros.

Is it safe to walk to Moulin Rouge at night?

Yes, it’s safe to walk to Moulin Rouge at night, even as a solo female traveler. The area will have a lot of tourists until quite late into the evening. I’d just make sure to hold on well to my belongings and get an anti-theft travel bag.

Best Restaurants Near Moulin Rouge Paris

I’ve eaten at these restaurants at least once in Paris near Moulin Rouge and had a good experience, so I would recommend them to you:

  • Le Chat Noir
  • Un Zèbre à Montmartre
  • La Mascotte Montmartre
  • Pink Mamma pigalle

I’d recommend Un Zèbre à Montmarte if you want a nice sit down dinner that won’t break the bank. It’s a lovely place with great staff and a reasonably affordable dinner service.

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