Tue, Oct 08, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Moulin Rouge celebrates its 130th birthday


Moulin Rouge dancers perform during the celebration of the 130th anniversary of France’s oldest cabaret institution in Paris on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Thousands of people on Sunday night massed outside the Moulin Rouge cabaret for a fireworks and French can-can extravaganza to mark the 130th anniversary of the storied Montmartre institution.

Police blocked off the boulevard for the event, which began with music and a light show projected onto the iconic red windmill, recounting the venue’s Belle Epoque origins.

A sole dancer then appeared on the roof, braving the autumn chill in one of the caberet’s skimpy sequined costumes — although she was not topless, presumably a nod to the families in the crowd.

Then, as fireworks boomed overhead — red, naturally, later mixed with whites and blues — around 50 long-legged dancers wearing the same colors emerged to perform their famous can-can.

Yiftah Bar-Akiva, an Israeli who has lived in Paris for 11 years, was sipping champagne from a flute glass with friends who came for the party.

“It’s as mythical as the Eiffel Tower, it’s like a piece of history of the Belle Epoque,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s disrespectful of women, I think it’s still art,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a peepshow.”

Joanna Cavarzan traveled from her home near the city of Chartres, not far from Paris, with a friend, Joe McGinty, who was visiting from Toronto.

“I’ve never been inside, and I was hoping to see a little bit what it was like,” Cavarzan said.

Yet like many in the crowd, she could hardly see the dancers — no stage had been set up on the boulevard for their show. Opened in 1889 — the same year as the Eiffel Tower was completed — the Moulin Rouge has become a must-see for millions of tourists to the French capital, even if only from the outside.

The two nightly shows, two hours each, are almost always sold out seven nights a week, 365 nights a year, with tourists and locals attending in roughly even numbers.

The cabaret has also become a touchstone in popular culture, not only with Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 hit film, but in 1952 with John Huston’s version starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.

This story has been viewed 1180 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top