When we think of the Moulin Rouge, the world's most famous cabaret, we visualize cancans dancing to the music in the quintessential Parisian atmosphere. Today, it is possible to relive this splendor. The real magic of the Moulin Rouge is in its night show, reminiscing of times past, and this is why hundreds of tickets are sold every day, which you can buy individually or as part of a pack along other activities in Paris:
Enjoy the most famous cabaret in the world
Perfect if you feel like experiencing first-hand the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Enjoy the experience while sipping a glass of French champagne
The shows held at the Moulin Rouge may change depending on the season, but they will always be based on the iconic cancan dance that made this cabaret famous. The rise of this dance coincides with an era of optimism and social satisfaction; at the gates of the twentieth century, there was confidence in technological progress, artistic avant-garde, and economic growth.
There was, in general terms, a generalized joy and a desire to enjoy life that materialized in this dance that painters like Tolouse Lautrec portrayed in their paintings. All this atmosphere is still recreated every night to this day, and to experience it is best to buy in advance your ticket for a show at the Moulin Rouge.
The Moulin Rouge is usually open every day of the year with few exceptions and the show runs at 9pm and 11pm. The show lasts about two hours and the ticket includes half a bottle of champagne.
Why I like this option: this is the cheapest option to experience live the magic of this Parisian cabaret.
Recommended if... you want to attend a show at the Moulin Rouge at the best price.
About the ticket prices
One thing you should keep in mind is that the price of tickets for the Moulin Rouge will depend on the extras you add to the show, ie: dinner and drinks. There are about four menus at different prices to choose from (one of them vegan), composed of French dishes. Alcoholic beverages are optional.
Of course, you have to request it in advance because the cabaret does not work as a restaurant where you can order from the menu. The show at the Moulin Rouge is attended by both tourists and locals and, especially in high season, it is advisable to book tickets in advance to avoid running out of room for the day and time chosen.
Dining at the Moulin Rouge
If you choose to dine at the Moulin Rouge, you can choose from several types of menus (including vegetarian and vegan dishes) that change according to the season and always include starter, main course, and dessert. The price of the ticket increases significantly with the choice of dinner and, although I can admit that the menu is very well thought out both in taste and presentation, the real added value of the Moulin Rouge is not the dinner itself but the show.
If you want to live the experience of dining in this cabaret go ahead, but do not do it looking for cuisine excellence because what you will find will be something correct and enjoyable, but nothing more. Also keep in mind that the tables at the Moulin Rouge are shared, so if you want to enjoy an intimate dinner this is not the best option.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The tables at the Moulin Rouge are shared, French-style; keep this in mind if your idea is to enjoy an intimate dinner with your companion.
How long does the Moulin Rouge show last?
The Moulin Rouge showtimes, with a few exceptions, are always the same: there is one show at 9pm and another at 11pm every day from Monday to Sunday. Please note that you should come early enough to see the show; about fifteen minutes before is recommended.
Plan your visit
How to get there
The Moulin Rouge is located in the Montmartre district, specifically in the Pigalle area, also known as the red-light district of Paris. Although if you are staying in the center of Paris you will not be able to walk there (or at least not walking, as it is quite far), the area is perfectly communicated as it is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.
If you haven't bought your ticket for the Moulin Rouge in a package that includes hotel pick-up, the easiest way to get there is by metro: the 'Blanche' stop on line 2 will drop you right at the door. A cab or a VTC are also valid options, although I recommend that you look at the map before requesting the vehicle to be forewarned against unnecessary detours.
For the dinner option
If you have the dinner option (available only for the first show) you should arrive at the Moulin Rouge at around 6:30 pm, as dinner is served at 7:00 pm. The Moulin Rouge show lasts two hours and then you'll have a few minutes to leisurely enjoy the champagne included with your basic ticket.
How to dress for a show at the Moulin Rouge
One of the most frequent doubts among those who book tickets for the Moulin Rouge show is how they should dress to attend the show (I spent "a couple of minutes" on Google looking for information and options).
The dress code is formal without the obligatory jacket and tie, and shorts and sportswear are a no-no. Inside you will find everything from an odd coat in the VIP boxes to jeans. Having been through this experience, I will tell you that it is easier to choose the correct outfit. You can't ever go wrong with smart casual.
Getting back to the hotel from the Moulin Rouge
If you choose the second session of the show, be aware that you may miss the last metro as the end time is 1:15 am. In this case, you have at your disposal both taxis at the stop across the street and the option of getting an Uber, but if you want to save money I recommend you to choose a Friday or a Saturday as days to see the second session of the show as these days the Paris metro closes one hour later.
Is it possible to go to the Moulin Rouge with children?
Children from the age of six (always accompanied by an adult) are admitted to the show. This is something that, considering the history of the cabaret and the current atmosphere of the area, is often surprising, but the truth is that the show is suitable for all ages. That said, when I went to see the show I didn't see any children and I don't think it's usual to see them, both for the time of the show and the price.
Is it possible to take photos and videos at the Moulin Rouge?
If you're thinking of taking your camera (or even your cell phone) with a 100 percent charged battery to this show, you can scrap the idea. No photos or videos of any kind are allowed during the show or dinner. The waiters will give you a warning if they see you taking pictures, and instead offer you the official photo during dinner for an approximate price of $ 25.
What to do in the area around the Moulin Rouge
Pigalle area is one of the most picturesque in Paris; there you will find huge erotic stores (many with shows included) that attract attention not only for their wares but also for their bright neon lights. **Pigalle by night is an area full of life and it is difficult to find comparisons to describe it.
My advice is that before or after your date at the Moulin Rouge you go for a walk through this area (you can get off at the metro stop 'Pigalle' and from there walk to 'Blanche') and soak up the essence of the more daring side of Paris.
Do not rule out a visit to the erotic museum: in my case, I was pleasantly surprised by the good taste with which the museum collection was organized and the tranquility with which you could see it, totally in contrast to the bustle outside. However, think twice before going up to the top floor of the museum, where the most sensitive works are accumulated.
Ana's Traveller Tip
To get the most out of the area, choose the 21:00 show. Beforehand, visit the upper Montmartre with the Sacre Coeur and the painters' square and, at the end of the show, stroll around Pigalle and have a drink in one of its clubs.
Take a guided tour of Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge district
Whether on the same day of the Moulin Rouge show or a different day, you can't miss exploring the area on a visit to the Montmartre neighborhood during your trip to Paris. The history of the belle époque is not complete with a visit to the cabaret; Montmartre hides many more stories that will seduce you with the same intensity as that of the red-neon lit mill.
Of all the tours I have done in Paris, of which you can read more in this article about Paris Tours, the Montmartre tour is the one I have repeated the most often precisely because I never get tired of hearing the stories of all the artists who found in that neighborhood the true meaning of the famous slogan 'Liberté, Égalite, Fraternité'.
Who are you going to hear about on this tour? Tolouse Lautrec, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Edith Piaf, the film Amélie or the gay icon Dalida. Many stories, all intermingled and all that while strolling through the narrow streets of Montmartre in the evening light (for me one of the most beautiful moments to do this tour) and then sit and contemplate the city from the stairs of the Sacre Coeur.
The Montmartre tour with the Paris Pass card
This is a city pass with which you will have free access to different tourist attractions and museums in the city of Paris. Entrance to the Moulin Rouge show is not included with this card, but a two-hour guided tour of the neighborhood is included.
Whether you are visiting Paris for the first time or not, if you are going to visit several of the main points of interest the Paris Pass is definitely worth it: it includes access to more than 60 landmarks and the public transport of Paris. Its price depends on the number of days you want to use it. You can read more about the Paris Pass in this article.
Other bohemian corners of Paris
The Moulin Rouge is an icon of the bohemian life of Paris in the late 19th century, but it is not the only one. The city of Paris, in particular the Montmartre district, is full of places that speak of this era. If you want to take a walk through the most bohemian corners of the city of light, in addition to, of course, walk the narrow streets of Montmartre, do not miss places like:
Place des Painters
Or Place du Terre which is how it appears on the maps. There you will find the heart of the painters' quarter with a multitude of artists selling their works or making portraits to tourists. Despite the concentration of people, the quality of the works that are concentrated there makes the place still authentic.
A few steps from the painters' square, this museum goes unnoticed despite the exquisite collection inside. If you like Dalí's work you will enjoy this little surrealist corner. I have written an article on Museums Paris where you will find more about this museum and a list of what, for me, are the most recommended museums in the city.
A neighborhood like this had to have some place to tell its history. In this museum located on rue Cortot you will see from images of the neighborhood belonging to different times to objects that tell you about the cabarets and the cursed poets who lived here.
You're probably familiar with the Chat Noir cafe from the famous black cat posters you'll see in every souvenir store in Paris, but this isn't the only one. Both in Montmartre and the Montparnasse district, south of Paris, you can find places frequented by intellectuals such as Paul Verlaine, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, or Hemingway.
Moulin de la Galette
It is one of the 30 mills that were in this neighborhood at the beginning of the last century. Although during the day it is easily located walking along the rue Lepic, at night it can be more complicated by the tree branches that hide it. Today it is an elegant restaurant, but its merit is that it was one of the most represented cabarets in the work of various bohemian painters including Renoir.
Other interesting activities in Paris
If you want to add to your trip an activity that contrasts with the bohemian airs of Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge, I recommend that you consider adding one of the most majestic visits that can be made in the capital: the visit to the Paris Opera Garnier.
In this case, you won't need to pay for a show to visit its amazing interior, as there are guided tours of the inside of the building outside of performance hours. Here is my handy guide to Paris Opera Garnier Tours so you can find out more.
If you want to make the most of the cultural side of Paris, its variety of museums will not disappoint you. Find your favorite in my article on Museums Paris or go directly to the King of museums, the Louvre. Here's all the information you need to organize your visit: Paris Louvre Museum Tickets and Tours: how to buy, prices and discounts.
Frequently asked questions
Is there a dress code for the Moulin Rouge?
There is a dress code, however it's not as extreme as you probably imagine. The general requirement is "smart dress", which basically means no shorts, sportswear, leisurewear, sports shoes and certainly not flip flops. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from "Dressing to the nines" to really show off your bourgeois sensibilities.
Is the Moulin Rouge family friendly?
If they are older than 6 and dressed properly then they will be accepted, however as its cabaret, the content of the show isn't exactly seen as appropriate for young children, especially considering the area it is in.
Is it safe around Moulin Rouge after the show?
With Moulin Rouge situated in the base of Montmartre, an area which is in many ways similar to Amsterdam's Red Light District. For this reason, it probably won't surprise you to find that is very safe, due to the touristic nature of the area, along with a resurgence of gentrification around the area.