When we think of the Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret in the world, we visualize cancanes and imagine period music in Paris. Today it is possible to relive this splendor. The real magic of the Moulin Rouge is in its period night show and for this hundreds of tickets are sold every day, which you can buy individually or as part of a pack with other activities in Paris:
Enjoy the most famous cabaret in the world
Perfect if you want to live in first person the experience of attending the famous cabaret of the Moulin Rouge. Enjoy the experience while sipping a glass of French champagne.
The shows held at the Moulin Rouge may change according to the season, but they will always be based on the mythical cancan dance that was the one 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 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 ticket prices
Something you should keep in mind, is that the price of the tickets for the Moulin Rouge will depend on the extras you add to the show, ie: dinner and drinks. There are about four menus to choose from (one of them vegan) of French dishes and different prices and you can include or not the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
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 Moulin Rouge show 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.
Dine 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 a starter, main course and dessert. The price of admission increases significantly with the choice of dinner and, although I recognize that the menu is very careful 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 excellence in the cuisine 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.
How long does the Moulin Rouge show last?
The show times at the Moulin Rouge, with some exceptions, are always the same: there is a 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.
Organize your visit
How to get to the Moulin Rouge
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 stay 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 connected 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 around 6:30 p.m., as dinner is served at 7:00 p.m. The Moulin Rouge show lasts two hours and then you will have a few minutes to enjoy the champagne that is included with the basic ticket. The Moulin Rouge show lasts two hours and then you will have a few minutes to quietly enjoy the champagne that is included with the 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 personally spent "a couple of minutes" on Google looking for information and options).
The dress code is formal without the obligatory jacket and tie and avoiding shorts and sportswear. Inside you will find everything from the odd morning coat in the VIP boxes to jeans. Having been through this experience, I will tell you that it is easier to choose an outfit than it seems. The best, the classic "dressed up but casual"; you are neither going to walk around the city nor are you going to any wedding.
How to get back to the hotel from the Moulin Rouge
If you choose the second session of the show, keep in mind that you may miss the last subway to the exit since the closing time is 1:15 am. In this case, you have at your disposal both cabs at the stop across the street and VTCs, but if you want to save money I recommend you to choose a Friday or Saturday as days to see the second shift of the show as these days the Paris metro closes an hour later.
Is it possible to go to the Moulin Rouge with children?
Children from six years old (always accompanied by an adult) are admitted to the show's sessions. This is something that, considering the history of the cabaret and the current atmosphere of the area, is usually surprising, but the truth is that the show is suitable for all ages. When I went to see the show I didn't see any children and I don't think it is 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 are thinking of taking your camera (or even your cell phone) with a 100 % charged battery to this show, you can already discard the idea. No photos or video of any kind are allowed during the show or dinner. The waiters may attract attention and, in addition, the organizers themselves will offer you the official photo during the dinner for an approximate price of 20 euros.
What to do in the surroundings of the Moulin Rouge
The 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 its content, but for its bright neon lights. Pigalle at 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 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 this daring and energetic 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's collection was organized and the tranquility with which you could see it, totally in contrast to the bustle outside. Of course, think twice before going up to the top floor of the museum, which is where the most sensitive works are accumulated.
Ana's Traveller Tip
To get the most out of the area, choose the 21:00 show. Visit first the upper Montmartre with the Sacre Coeur and the painters' square and, after the show, stroll through Pigalle and have a drink in one of its clubs.
Take a guided tour of Montmartre, the neighborhood of the Moulin Rouge
Whether it's the same day you go to see the Moulin Rouge show or a different day, you can't miss exploring the area on a visit to the Montmartre district 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 mill.
Of all the tours I have done in Paris, which you can read more about in this article on Paris ToursMontmartre is the one I have repeated most often precisely because I never tire 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 they going to tell you 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 you walk through the narrow streets of Montmartre with the light of sunset (for me one of the most beautiful moments to do this tour) and then sit and watch 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. The entrance to the Moulin Rouge show is not included with this card, but a two-hour guided tour of the neighborhood is included.
Whether it's your first time in Paris or not, if you are going to visit several of the main points of interest the Paris Pass will pay off: it has more than 60 places included, it includes public transport in Paris and there are different prices depending on the days you want to use it. You can read more about Paris Pass in this article.
Other bohemian corners of Paris
The Moulin Rouge is an icon of the bohemian life of Paris at the end of the 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:
O Place du Terre which is how it appears on 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 make the place remain authentic.
A few meters from the painters' square, this museum goes unnoticed despite the exquisite collection inside. If you like Dalí's work you will really enjoy this little surrealist corner. I have written an article about Museums Paris where you will find this museum and another list of what, for me, are the most recommended museums in the city.
A neighborhood like this had to have a place to tell its history. In this museum located on rue Cortot you will see from images of the neighborhood belonging to different eras to objects that tell you about the cabarets and the cursed poets who stayed in this enclave.
Surely the Chat Noir cafe is familiar to you because of the famous black cat posters that you will see in all the souvenir stores in Paris, but this is not the only one. Both in Montmartre and in 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 easy to find walking along the rue Lepic, at night it can be more complicated because of the 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 artists 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: a visit to the Opera Garnier in Paris.
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 practical guide to Paris Opera Garnier Tours so you can find out more about it.
If you feel like squeezing the most cultural side of Paris, its variety of museums will not disappoint you. Select your favorite in my article on Museums Paris or go directly to the King of museums, the Louvre. I leave here 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 certain etiquette, however it is not as rigid as one might imagine. The general requirement is no shorts, sportswear, sneakers and of course, no flip-flops. And why not, you can always dress toe to toe as if you were a true bourgeois of the time.
Is Moulin Rouge suitable for children?
If they are over 6 years old and dressed appropriately, they will be admitted to the show, but being a cabaret it may not be the most appropriate and entertaining for the little ones, as well as the area where Moulin Rouge is located.
Is the Moulin Rouge area safe after the show?
Moulin Rouge is located at the base of Montmartre, an area that is in many ways similar to Amsterdam's Red Light District. For this reason, it is no surprise that the neighborhood is quite safe, due to its touristy nature and the progressive gentrification of the neighborhood.
How long does the Moulin Rouge show last?
The show lasts two hours.