Moulin Rouge: A History


The Moulin Rouge: How do You Sum up It's Legacy?

Why is the Moulin Rouge a top tourist destination? I really don't get it. Other than it being the setting for a Ewan McGregor movie (Moulin Rouge!) I really had no interest to ever go and visit this place. But since there was so much hype, I decided that I had to go and see what it was about. While researching how to get there, the guidebook warned us to watch out for pickpockets and "pimps." Pimps? What do you mean watch out for pimps? I didn't know we still used that word. This warning of course gave me a good chuckle, so I went, I saw the Moulin Rouge, and I was still confused why it is so popular. But at least I didn't have a run in with the pimps. So here is a little history on the place.

Belle Epoque Beginnings

The Belle Epoque was a time of wealth, specifically around the time that the World's Fairs were hosted in Paris. It was intended to be a place where all walks of life could mix, business men with workers, foreigners with rich locals. With champagne flowing and extravagant circus inspired shows. People were intrigued.

The Streets of Montmartre

The Can-Can

It is said that the can-can was born in the Moulin Rouge. Wikipedia calls it "the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can." I didn't know that it could be a spiritual experience, but to each their own I guess.

The Moulin Rouge Today

Today the Moulin Rouge still does cabaret shows, though it's mostly for tourists today. It's in the middle of the red light district of Paris, but at the steps of Montmartre. It recently celebrated 125 years since its grand opening, and has been an influence in cabaret thanks to its famous performers like Mistinguett. And because it was able to attract all walks of life and people from around the world, it is an icon of Paris.

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