Opening of the Moulin Rouge

At the foot of the Montmartre hill in Paris, the most famous cabaret in the world, the Moulin Rouge, opened its doors on 6 October 1889.

La Goulue, first Moulin Rouge poster by Toulouse-Lautrec La Clownesse Cha U Kao by Toulouse-Lautrec

The birthplace of the can-can dance, home to extravagant performances, stage to acclaimed singers and dancers including La Goulue and Mistinguett, the Moulin Rouge quickly became a success.  It attracted quite a diverse audience, from workers to nobility, from tourists to artists. One of its most renowned visitors was Toulouse-Lautrec, who produced posters and paintings about the Moulin Rouge immortalising its fame.

Le Moulin-Rouge by Toulouse-Lautrec La Danse au Moulin Rouge by Toulouse-Lautrec

This is how the opening is recorded at the Moulin Rouge:
“The public came in mass to Place Blanche, to discover this extravagant place with its huge dance floor, mirrors everywhere, and galleries that were the last word in elegance, to mix with the riffraff and girls of easy virtue, in a garden decorated with a big elephant with rides on donkeys for the ladies’ pleasure. There was such a wild atmosphere that the show was not only on the stage but all around: aristocrats and louts in caps had fun side by side, in an atmosphere of total euphoria.”

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