a brief history
The Moulin Rouge club you will see in the theater is a work of theatrical imagination in the spirit of the Moulin Rouge of Paris. Here’s a brief history of that iconic venue.
October 6, 1889The Moulin Rouge opens at the foot of the Montmartre hill. The aim of its founders, Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, is to allow the very rich to come and slum it in a fashionable district, where people live differently from other parts of Paris. The place attracts men and women, the middle classes, and rich foreigners passing through Paris, as well as artists and ordinary folk. There was much laughter at the many acts that became famous (Pétomane, the clowns Footit and Chocolat, etc.). The French cancan, a new dance inspired by the quadrille, enchanted the spectators. Nicknamed “The First Palace of Women” by Oller and Zidler, the cabaret quickly becomes a great success.
April 1890The first revue, Circassiens et Circassiennes, is launched. Toulouse-Lautrec creates the posters for the Moulin Rouge from 1891, the first being La Goulue.
Until World War IThe Moulin Rouge becomes a real temple of operetta. Further successful shows followed: Voluptata, La Feuille de Vigne, le Rêve d’Egypte, etc.
July 29, 1907The first appearance of Mistinguett onstage at the Moulin Rouge in the Revue de la Femme. The following year she has a huge success with Max Dearly in la Valse chaloupée.
After the WarFrancis Salabert takes charge of the Moulin Rouge. The venue becomes an iconic music hall and experiences a new popularity thanks to Jacques-Charles and Mistinguett. Their shows that would become mythical: la Revue Mistinguett (1925), Ça c’est Paris (1926), Paris qui tourne (1928). American revues, including the Hoffmann Girls, are put on for the first time in Paris.
1930sThe ballroom is transformed into the most ultra-modern nightclub of the time. The Moulin Rouge welcomes the Cotton Club in 1937.
June 22, 1951Georges France, called Jo France, founder of the Balajo, acquires the Moulin Rouge and starts major renovation work. The evening dances, the acts, and, of course, the famous French cancan are all back at the Moulin Rouge, and numerous famous French and international artists step out into the limelight.
1955Jo France transfers the Moulin Rouge to the brothers Joseph and Louis Clérico, who already own the Lido. The famous French cancan is still performed, soon choreographed by Ruggero Angeletti and danced by the Doriss Girls.
1962Jacki Clérico, son of Joseph Clérico, takes charge of the Moulin Rouge. It is the start of a new era: enlargement of the auditorium, installation of a giant aquarium, and the first aquatic ballet. Frou Frou of 1963 and its ensuing success marked the beginning of the series of shows beginning with an “F,” their lucky letter, including 10 shows up to the latest revue.
2019Moulin Rouge and its 60 artists celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Féerie revue show: two hours of amazement between cabaret and music-hall styles where dance scenes and surprise acts intersperse — without forgetting the Moulin Rouge’s most emblematic dance, the French cancan!
October 2019The iconic Moulin Rouge, famous around the world, celebrates its 130th anniversary!
The home and birthplace of the Parisian way of celebrating since 1889, the authentic Moulin Rouge in Paris invites you to enter its dazzling and spectacular world.
VISIT THE MOULIN ROUGE IN PARIS (opens in a new window)
Based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge® is a registered trademark of Moulin Rouge.