The Moulin Rouge opened in 1899, on the cusp of a new century and amid the atmosphere of excitement and progress that had been engendered by the construction of the groundbreaking Eiffel Tower in the same year. The Industrial Revolution in France was smashing social barriers and encouraging a new, less rigid kind of class system, and it was in this modern era of loose definitions and morals that the Moulin Rouge was to carve itself into the decadent fabric of the new liberal Parisian society. Upon its official opening on the 6th October the theatre was established as an extravagant and wild home for music hall entertainment, and the Moulin Rouge has clung on to this reputation and evoked the spirit of the Belle Époque decades ever since.
The theatre was built by Joseph Oller, a Spanish entrepreneur who later opened Paris’ first music hall, the Olympia. Charles Zidler was his business partner and the manager of the theatre, and together they set out to create a place that would cater for the changing tastes of the public in the new Belle Époque era, imagining a venue where classes could mingle side by side and specializing in an over the top kind of luxury that could be enjoyed by all. These aims were borne out in the extravagant quirks that characterized the theatre.
Moulin Rouge quickly gained a reputation for being the place where men could view young Parisian girls whose unique and amazing dance moves were as flexible as their morals. And though the famous Can-Can dance had been present in working class ballrooms since the 1830s, the early days of the Moulin Rouge cemented its popularity, though during the first few decades that the establishment was open, it was little more than a bawdy dance performed by courtesans to entertain their male clientele.
Sometimes it was downright vulgar and what went on inside the Moulin Rouge caused much public outrage. During this time period, one of the music hall’s most notable patrons was artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who painted a number of famous Moulin Rouge scenes.
The show features more than 100 performers decked out in the most extravagant costumes, which include lots of feathers, rhinestones, and sequins. The sets are equally as spectacular. Dinner, dance and show at Le Moulin Rouge will make an unforgettable evening for your stay in Paris! If you join Comfort Tour on our bus tour through London and Paris, you will enjoy 4 days in each city. Since you will have your evenings free, why not plan to see the Moulin Rouge and experience the extravagance of the show?
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