Moulin Rouge: Féerie—A Féerie féerie enjoyable evening

Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France

My Rating: 89%

Date Seen: June 14, 2016

Cost of Ticket: 92 Euros

For more than 125 years, the Moulin Rouge has been the premiere entertainment destination in Paris. Opening in 1889, the same year that the Eiffel tower was constructed, the Moulin Rouge has undergone numerous stylistic reinventions to stay on current, relevant and popular. Their shows, which have been popular with royals and the upper crust, continues to sell out and attracts over 600,000 viewers each year.  

The current show Féerie, opened in 1999 to full houses. It has all the quintessential elements of cabaret: lively music, flirtation, entertaining sideshows, comedic performers and of course, topless dancers. Of course the Can-Can is on full display considering the Moulin Rouge is credited as its birthplace. As the popularity of the Moulin Rouge grew, it learned to balance the bawdy humour and the glamorous sensuality of the show.

The entrance and the iconic windmill.

The entrance and the iconic windmill.

Moulin Rouge is synonymous with spectacle and the dancing girls deliver this routine after routine. North Americans often ask if the girls perform topless—yes. But 15 seconds in, after you’ve see the first dozen pairs of breasts, you begin to focus on the show. And although there are bouncing breasts on stage, it is classy and tasteful. Your eyes will be drawn to the impressive moving sets, over 1000 intricate costumes, soaring headdresses and a half dozen Shetland ponies. No wonder they needed a dance as bold as the Can-Can to hold attention. Nearly 100 perfectly in-sync dancers float across the stage and make their high-kicks look effortless.

Principal Dancer, Caroline Renno-Raynal

Principal Dancer, Caroline Renno-Raynal

While the dancers are the main attraction, the performance also showcases several variety type performers. Not only does this allow the dancers to change costumes, but it truly brings the cabaret to life. My favourite variety performer was Les Chicagos—a trio of acrobats that perform a routine that bogles your mind (and the rules of physics). Terry Parade was another highlight with his musical tennis balls and witty audience interaction. Though not quite as show-stopping, the Roller Pillar and the girl who swam with pythons were impressive in their own rite. Roller Pillar provided its share of gasps but the routine seemed dated. As for the snake girl, it was more interesting watching the snakes try to slither out of the glass bowl more than anything else. Overall, the acts provide a welcome reprieve from feathers and rhinestones.

Backstage with Caroline Renno-Raynal, the Principal Dancer at the Moulin Rouge. This dressing room was used by many celebrities including Ginger Rogers, Elton John and LaToya Jackson. 

Backstage with Caroline Renno-Raynal, the Principal Dancer at the Moulin Rouge. This dressing room was used by many celebrities including Ginger Rogers, Elton John and LaToya Jackson. 

I had the opportunity to interview the Principal Dancer, Caroline Renno-Raynal, backstage at the Moulin Rouge. She has been dancing at the Moulin Rouge for 10 years and steals the show each night with her smile. Originally from England, she began her training in dance school at 2.5 years old and then went to a professional dance academy at the age of 16. From there, she danced at a few cabarets in London before auditioning for the Moulin Rouge. She started off in the Can-Can line and still remembers auditioning for the lead position. Getting the lead position, her life-long dream, is her fondest memory of her career. As a younger dancer, she never believed that she would make it to the lead role and reminds all young dancers to believe in themselves because anything is possible. These days Caroline dances and sings for packed crowds and famous celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott.

The Moulin Rouge is a must see attraction in Paris. It’s show is only equalled by it’s history and notoriety. Before you go, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your night:

  1. Do not expect to see a live version of the movie Moulin Rouge! with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. This is a cabaret, not a play. This is the actual show that inspired the movie. If you want to see the Moulin Rouge! movie live, then see Cirque du Soliel’s Las Vegas show Baz—Star Crossed Love at the Palazzo.

  2. There are different tiers of seating, but otherwise it is first-come-first-served. When you arrive you will likely see a large line waiting to go in. However, tip your usher well and you never know what might happen. Wherever you are seated, the show is ‘larger than life’ and you’ll be just fine. The theatre seats 900 so you're never too far away.

  3. Drink Champagne! You’re in Paris!!! Besides, the Moulin Rouge pours over 240,000 bottles of Champagne each year—more than any other restaurant or bar in the world. 

  4. Check out the gift shop. They had some unique items and the prices were fair.

  5. Look at all the ticket prices as they differ night to night. You can also save as much as 40 euros by selecting the 11pm show.

  6. Dress code is in effect. Men: Jacket and tie appreciated. Ladies: Dress smart.