Moulin Rouge Buzz

By Margaret Kemp There’s something romantic about hailing a taxi in the city of lights and saying, “Moulin Rouge s’il vous plait monsieur”. It conjures up la vie bohême, an era immortalised by Toulouse Lautrec, the 1800’s Belle Epoque when tall men in toppers and tails escorted their Fanny by gaslight mistresses for a night out on the town. Ah! those were the days n’est pas?
 

And la fete at the Moulin Rouge continues, has evolved into a pastiche of itself a 21st century cyber-spectacle. Well dressed crowds throng the entrance, they may have arrived by coach, the excitement on their faces is evident as they file almost reverentially into le plus célèbre cabaret du monde. They’re at the source of the French Can-Can (since 1889) think frills, flounces, flowing skirts in the vibrant tri-colours of the French flag. Remember “les girls” who have become famous on trays, t-towels, t-shirts world-wide. La Goulou, Nini-Pattes-en-l’Air, la Mome Fromage oh! la la.
 

They sink 200,000 bottles of bubbly a year here. And you’ll eat quite well with **Michelin chef Laurent Tarridec (Lei Mouscardins, Saint Tropez, what a gig he’s got, no kidding) as consultant. “Oh I don’t very often watch ze show”, he shrugs. Yeah, we believe you dear, we really do!
 

Dinner French Can-Can (140€) kicks off with a plump poultry terrine, zesty with lemon. Or, how about pressed OX Cheek and Tail in Aspic (suggestive, no?). Sexy saddle of salmon is dusted with pistou, paired with creamy polenta. Or if you’re a lascivious leg-man, go for it with roast leg of baby rabbit, served with rumpy-pumpy potato gnocchi. Now, now don’t read anything erotic into the well-proportioned Banana dessert, the sensual Strawberry-Lemon Ice Cream (D) Cup, or the carnal chestnut cream with a titillating hazelnut cream. Just keep drinking the Pol Roger/Moet/Perrier Jouet.
 

Tarridec’s backed up by 20 cooks, in kitchens the size of an aircraft hangar. 100 Maitre d’s headwaiters and bus-boys serve 850 punters at every session. What a life they have! Envy of all their friends! See the REAL Europe with Rail EuropeCatch them sitting on the stairs half way through the show: their eyes are on stalks! Even the genial restaurant director Michel Clavier still gets turned on and “I’ve been here 25 years”, he admits. Clavier says that staff stay on (oh yeah, bien sur they stay, all those gorgeous well toned thighs, and that’s just the guys!).
 

Call it vulgar kitsch but for 111 years the Moulin Rouge has seen the likes of H.M. The Queen, Princess Diana, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nicole Kidman, Elton John, Jerry Lewis, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minelli, either performing live, featuring in Bazz Luhrman’s movie or just wallowing in the fantasy world of feathers, rhinestones and sequins….and of course ogling the most beautiful babes in the world. The Doriss Girls. Is it worth it? Mais oui, you haven’t been to Paris until you’ve seen The French Can-Can!
 

Bal du Moulin Rouge,
82 Boulevard de Clichy, 18th (Metro: Blanche)
T: 01 53 09 82 82
www.moulin-rouge.com
From 7pm Dinner-Show –
Menus from 140€ includes half bottle of champagne
Or just see the show with champagne 97€
Late show – 11pm with champagne 87€
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