When we think of the Moulin Rouge, the world's most famous cabaret, we visualise cancanes and imagine period music in Paris. Today it is possible to relive this splendour. The real magic of the Moulin Rouge is in its nightly vintage show and hundreds of tickets are sold every day. You can buy them individually or as part of a package with other activities in Paris:
Enjoy the most famous cabaret in the world
Perfect if you want to experience first hand the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. Enjoy the experience while enjoying a dinner menu and champagne.
Enjoy the most famous Parisian cabaret in the world and its more than 100 performers on stage. Be amazed by the glamour of the costumes, the colourful sets and let the music transport you to the bohemian atmosphere of the city at the beginning of the 20th century.
Booking a ticket for the Moulin Rouge with dinner allows you to experience the French cancan at first hand, while tasting the local gastronomy with a good champagne.
The Moulin Rouge is usually open every day of the year with some 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 most complete option to experience the magic of this Parisian cabaret live.
Recommended if... you want to attend a show at the Moulin Rouge at the best price.
About ticket prices
One thing you should be aware of is that the price of tickets to the Moulin Rouge will depend on the extras you add to the show, i.e. dinner and drinks. There are four menus to choose from (one of them vegan) with French dishes and different prices and you can include or not the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Of course, you have to order in advance as the cabaret does not operate as a regular restaurant where you can order from the menu. The Moulin Rouge show is attended by tourists and locals alike and, especially in high season, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance so that you don't run out on the day and time of your choice.
Dinner at the Moulin Rouge
If you choose to dine at the Moulin Rouge, you can choose from several different menus (including vegetarian and vegan dishes) which change seasonally and always include a starter, main course and dessert. The price of the ticket increases significantly with the choice of dinner and, although I recognise that the menu is very carefully prepared in both taste and presentation, the real added value is not the dinner itself but the show at the Moulin Rouge.
If you want to live the experience of dining at 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, bear 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.
What time is the Moulin Rouge show?
The Moulin Rouge show times are always the same, with some exceptions: there is one show at 9pm and another at 11pm every day from Monday to Sunday. Please note that you should arrive well in advance to see the show; fifteen minutes before the show is recommended.
What is the Moulin Rouge show like?
The show is undoubtedly stunning. Feathers and more feathers, colourful costumes and lively music and light effects make up the most attractive staging in the French music hall. If you add to this almost a hundred dancers coordinating amazing choreographies, you will feel for a while in the Belle Époque in all its splendour.
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 made this cabaret famous. The rise of this dance coincides with an era of optimism and social satisfaction; at the dawn of the 20th century, there was confidence in technological progress, in the artistic avant-garde and in economic growth.
There was, in general terms, a generalised joy and a desire to enjoy life that materialised in this dance that painters such as Tolouse Lautrec portrayed in their paintings. This atmosphere is still recreated every night to this day, and to experience it, it's best to buy your Moulin Rouge ticket with dinner and champagne in advance.
Plan your visit
If you already have your ticket to see the Moulin Rouge show, now you just need to know a few details in order to organise your visit as best as possible. I'll tell you all about them below:
- How to get there: The Moulin Rouge is located in the Montmartre district, in the Pigalle "red light district" of Paris. The area is well connected as it is one of the main tourist attractions in the city.
If you haven't bought your ticket including transfer, the easiest way to get there is by metro: the 'Blanche' stop on line 2 will drop you right outside the door. A taxi or a VTC are also valid options, see our post on How to get to the Moulin Rouge for more information.
- For the dinner option: If you have the dinner option included, you'll have to get to the Moulin Rouge around half past six, as dinner is served at seven. The show lasts two hours and then you will have a few minutes to enjoy the champagne included.
- How to dress to attend a show at the Moulin Rouge: To attend the show, 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. The best thing is the classic "smart casual"; you're not going to walk around the city and you're not going to a wedding.
- How to get 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 to the exit as the closing time is 1:15am. In this case, there are both taxis at the taxi rank opposite and VTCs available. If you want to save money, I recommend choosing a Friday or Saturday as the day to see the second shift of the show, as the Paris metro closes an hour later on these days.
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, given the history of the cabaret and the current atmosphere in the area, is often 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 mobile phone) with a 100 per cent charged battery to this show, you can scrap the idea. No photography or video of any kind is allowed during the show or dinner. Waiters may attract attention and the organisers themselves will offer you the official photo during the dinner for a price of approximately 20 euros.
Things to do in the area around the Moulin Rouge
The Pigalle area is one of the most picturesque in Paris, where you'll find huge erotic shops (many with shows included) that attract attention not only because of their content, but also because of their neon lights. Pigalle by night is a lively area and it's hard to find comparisons to describe it.
My advice is that before or after your date at the Moulin Rouge you walk around 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. You can also take a sightseeing bustour and explore the Parisian nightlife in the different areas, each with its own magic.
Ana's Traveller Tip
To get the most out of the area, choose the 21:00 show. Beforehand, visit the upper part of Montmartre with the Sacre Coeur and the Place des Painters, and after the show, wander around Pigalle and have a drink in one of its clubs.
Take a guided tour of Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge neighbourhood
Whether it's the same day you go to see the Moulin Rouge show or a different day, you can't miss out on exploring the area on a visit to the Montmartre neighbourhood 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've 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 neighbourhood the true meaning of the famous slogan 'Liberté, Égalite, Fraternité'.
The tour route
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 this while you stroll 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
This is a city pass which gives you free access to different tourist attractions and museums in the city of Paris. Entry to the Moulin Rouge show is not included with this card, but a two-hour guided tour of the neighbourhood is.
Whether you're visiting Paris for the first time or not, if you're going to visit several of the main sights, the Paris Pass is worth it: it has over 60 sites included, it includes Paris public transport and there are different prices depending on how many days you want to use it. You can read more about Paris Pass in this article.
Other bohemian spots in Paris
The Moulin Rouge is an icon of bohemian life in Paris at the end of the 19th century, but it is not the only one. The city of Paris, and in particular the Montmartre district, is full of places that speak of this era. If you want to take a stroll through the most bohemian corners of the city of light, as well as, of course, strolling through the narrow streets of Montmartre, don't miss places like:
A neighbourhood like this had to have somewhere to tell its story. In this museum located on rue Cortot you will see everything from images of the neighbourhood from different periods to objects that tell you about the cabarets and the accursed poets who stayed in this enclave.
You may be familiar with the Chat Noir café from the famous black cat posters you'll see in every souvenir shop in Paris, but it's not the only one. Both in Montmartre and in the Montparnasse district, in the south of Paris, you can find places frequented by intellectuals such as Paul Verlaine, Baudelaire, Apollinaire and Hemingway.
Moulin de la Galette
This is one of the 30 mills that existed in this neighbourhood at the beginning of the last century. Although during the day it is easy to find walking along 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 lies in the fact that it was one of the cabarets most represented in the work of different bohemian artists, including Renoir.