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The Moulin Rouge, Paris might be the campest cabaret you’ll ever see

The Moulin Rouge, Paris might be the campest cabaret you’ll ever see

Moulin Rouge might be the campest cabaret you've ever seen | Photo: Supplied

Imagine if someone told you there’s a cabaret show that had turned the camp factor up to 11.

And then someone was like, ‘oh no, it might be too gay to appeal to mainstream audiences’. That same someone then decided to have dozens of female performers dance topless.

I’m not sure whether that’s what happened in producing Moulin Rouge shows, but that’s my best guess.

A friend and I surprised another friend with 11pm show tickets for her 30th birthday. On a cool Saturday night in Paris, we got dressed in our glad-rags and headed down to the most iconic red windmill in the world.

This attraction in the heart of bustling Montmartre knows why you’re there to visit.

Inside feels like you’re transported to the romance of fin de siècle France.

You’ll likely know Moulin Rouge from the movie (which the show has nothing in common with – barring the name and iconography). But you may also know it as the birthplace of the can-can.

The show is so much more.

What happened at the Moulin Rouge show? 

We saw Féerie, consisting of 80 artists. The Doriss Girls, recruited worldwide, are donned in revealing costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins.

The men are often wearing suits that sparkle so much you might get blinded. And in some scenes, they’ll be happy to reveal their waxed Ken doll-like chests.

Everything passes by almost like a champagne-confuddled dream. Thankfully, I took some notes.

  • Women dressed as clowns leading around miniature ponies.
  • A dancer dives into an aquarium that appears out of nowhere on stage. She then proceeds to swim naked with snakes.
  • A 1950s style American post-World War 2 number.
  • Two people lip syncing a French song as they are catapulted around the stage on wires.
  • A contortionist that I’m not convinced actually has any ribs or bones.
  • A roller skate act that was so death-defying that I’m stunned either of them survived the number

It’s a bizarre but wonderful show. It’s strange, dream-like, and camp as Christmas.

The Moulin Rouge might appeal to tourists, but it’s a gem. It feels like a portal to another time, another place – an unforgettable world-standard cabaret.

VIP tables cost 127 ($141) per person. Each of those tickets includes a free half-bottle of champagne. Go to the Moulin Rouge website for tickets. 

See also

Paris Je T’aime: 19 reasons we love the French capital

A guide on how to have a relaxing weekend away in Paris

US gay couple’s amazing Paris wedding photos go viral