6 of the Best Cabaret Shows in Paris

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6 of the Best Cabaret Shows in Paris

As Liza Minelli sings in the 1972 film Cabaret: “Life is a cabaret!” And that’s especially true if you find yourself in Paris – a city bursting with life, beauty, and fun.

Coincidentally, the Broadway version of the 1966 musical Cabaret is currently being performed in Paris at Lido2Paris. Actress Lizzy Connolly plays Sally Bowles in the new production. The Lido closed last year, but we’re happy to see that the cabaret space is being used for the one and only show of the same name. The New York Times reports there’s been an uptick of interest in American-style musicals in Paris, while simultaneously, “historic revues have struggled to maintain relevance.” The pandemic negatively impacted ticket sales for these revues and shifting cultural attitudes around female nudity have played a part, too.

Lido de Paris. © Shutterstock

The word cabaret can be interpreted broadly, but generally, it refers to a restaurant that also serves alcohol and provides patrons with musical entertainment. Cabarets are believed to have originated in France in the 1880s, according to Britannica. In their early days in France, cabarets consisted of amateur performers who entertained patrons and were called up by the master of ceremonies. These cabarets typically were “against the conventions of bourgeois society.”

Paris’s Montmartre neighborhood was a breeding ground for colorful cabarets, such as the Chat Noir. These early cabarets featured songs, dancing, comedy, and even poetry readings. The city’s most famous cabaret is the Moulin Rouge, which is also in Montmartre. It reached even greater fame after Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 hit film of the same name, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

Another one of the city’s most famous cabarets, The Lido, sadly shuttered its doors in 2022. France24 reported the news, writing that it was the “end of an era,” and that “The Lido is finished… cabaret set for final curtain amid mass lay-offs.” The famed cabaret and burlesque show was located in the heart of Paris on the Champs-Élysées. It closed in September 2022. Now, the Cabaret musical plays in the space, but it will close for an extensive renovation in early February, reports The New York Times.

“Le Lido” first opened in 1946. Mega-famous talents performed there over the years, including Edith Piaf, Elton John, Josephine Baker, Eartha Kitt, Johnny Hallyday, and more. Its famous dancers were called “Bluebell Girls” and they were known for their statuesque height (the average height of the Bluebell Girls was 5’11”).

The Bluebell Girls. Photo: Labarrere for the Lido

While Le Lido may have closed its cabaret show, there are still some amazing cabarets in Paris. Here are some of our favorites.

(Note: Some cabarets are expensive but you may find deals online, like on websites like Discount-Paris.com, which sells cabaret packages at a discount.)

Aux Trois Mailletz

Aux Trois Mailletz is a cabaret, restaurant, and piano bar featuring live music. It’s located in the heart of the Latin Quarter and is ranked one of the best jazz bars in Paris. When you’re looking for a lively night out, go here!

Address: 56 Rue Galande, 5th

 

Moulin Rouge

Since 1889, the Moulin Rouge has been delighting audiences and sending them home lit up with life after seeing a fantastic show. It was at the Moulin Rouge that the dance the cancan first appeared, and later it became a cabaret staple around the globe. Artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized the Moulin Rouge in his famous paintings of the cabaret.

Address: 82 Boulevard de Clichy, 18th

 

Crazy Horse

Va-va-VOOM! Paris’s Crazy Horse cabaret in the 8th arrondissement offers all the fun and sexiness your heart desires on your journey through the City of Light. However, a show here will cost you a pretty penny. Tickets start at 115 euro, and that’s for just a ticket to the show, without drinks. Find all the different offers – some of which include dinner – on their website.

Address: 12 Av. George V, 8th

 

Au Lapin Agile

Au Lapin Agile claims to be the oldest bar-cabaret in all of Paris. It opened in 1860, featuring songs and poetry. It’s typical for audiences here to join in on the fun and sing along with the performers. The cabaret says it’s the “perfect definition of the artistic cabaret.”

At 35 euro per person, Au Lapin Agile is one of the best cabaret deals in town. The cabaret is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Note: Au Lapin Agile is cash-only; they do not accept credit cards.

The 35-euro admission price includes one drink during the show.

Address: 22 Rue des Saules, 18th

 

Folies Bergère

Since 1869, Folies Bergère has been churning out incredible entertainment for Parisians and visitors alike. Folies Bergère was built as an opera house by an architect named Plumeret. Famously, Josephine Baker appeared here in 1926 to dance in her now-famous banana skirt.

Address: 32 Rue Richer, 9th

 

Lead photo credit : Moulin Rouge Airbnb Listing

More in Au Lapin Agile, Aux Trois Mailletz, cabaret, cabaret in Paris, Crazy Horse, Folies Bergére, Lido Paris, moulin rouge

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.