The Moulin Rouge in Paris is an icon. But is the show at the Moulin Rouge worth it?
The Moulin Rouge is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. Thanks to the musical Moulin Rouge and, to a lesser extent, Burlesque, the real Moulin Rouge has enticed Americans who are curious about this sexy Pigalle neighborhood cabaret.
If you’re wondering what “moulin rouge” means, it simply means “red windmill”. Very fitting for the Red Light District!
There is so much to do in Paris and planning a trip there can be absolutely overwhelming. No matter how long you plan to visit for, you will never be able to see or do everything you want to. This means you will have to prioritize what to do and miss out on something.
Your time, energy, and money is limited. So you’re probably wondering: is the Moulin Rouge worth it, or is it just an overhyped tourist attraction? Find out everything in my honest review here!
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How much does a show at the Moulin Rouge cost?
The Moulin Rouge is not a cheap experience.
There are currently 4 pricing tiers, with prices varying based on seasonality, date, time, and more – the costs below are just estimates:
- Dinner and the show is approx. 190€ per person
- VIP dinner and the show is approx. 420€ per person
- Regular tickets are approx. 120€ per person
- VIP tickets are approx. 210€ per person
VIP tickets grant access to a coat room, premium seating, one bottle of champagne per couple, macarons, and a Moulin Rouge gift.
Enjoying dinner at the Moulin Rouge adds about 70€ per person to the ticket cost, while VIP tickets add about 90€ to the ticket price.
What showtimes are available at the Moulin Rouge?
The Moulin Rouge offers two showtimes nearly every evening at 9 pm and 11 pm. If you select the dinner and show ticket, you will eat dinner at 7 pm and watch the 9 pm show.
The 11 pm show tends to be cheaper than the 9 pm show, especially on weekdays. If you’re on vacation, this may be a great way to experience the Moulin Rouge and save some money!
Matinée showtimes are occasionally available but not frequently, so don’t plan on matinée availability.
Should I get dinner at the Moulin Rouge?
I did not eat dinner at the Moulin Rouge, so I can’t speak to the quality of the food.
However, given that the plate is roughly ~70€ additional per person, that seems a little steep unless the food is truly exceptional. Paris has so many amazing dining options and it would be a shame to waste an evening – or that much money! – on something that is sub-par.
I live in Houston which has truly world-class food and we’re lucky because great food is much more affordable here than in other large cities. I’ve discovered that I’m now a bit of a food snob so I have high expectations for high-end restaurants. Despite the fantastic dining scene in Houston, I had one of my top 3 dining experiences ever at Le Christine near Saint Germain. The food was absolutely amazing, the wine pairings were perfect, and the dining room was intimate and cozy.
This isn’t really anywhere near the Moulin Rouge, so if you’re looking for something closer, I would recommend Pink Mamma. Pink Mamma is a convenient 5-minute walk from the Moulin Rouge that serves up delicious Italian foods, like traditional Neapolitan pizzas, pastas, burrata, and even gelato and tiramisu. Yum!
Two people could easily dine here for 70€.
What we really came here for: what is the Moulin Rouge really like?
When it gets close to showtime, the ushers will begin letting showgoers snake into the lobby. There are no assigned seats at the Moulin Rouge, so you’re likely to get a better seat if you show up earlier or spring for the VIP tickets. That being said, getting a good seat is somewhat luck of the draw – you may arrive early and end up with a seat to the side. That’s where I was seated, but I had no issues seeing anything.
Once they begin seating, you’ll be greeted with a luscious Art Deco showroom adorned with opulent red velvet tapestries and intimate tables lit with small lantern centerpieces. For me, at least, it felt very romantic, sexy, intimate, and even a bit secretive. It’s exactly what you would want from this kind of show.
If you opted for champagne, this will be quickly distributed before the show begins. Before too long, it’ll be curtain-up and the show will begin!
The show at the Moulin Rouge is very high energy. The music is super upbeat and the dancers always look like they’re having fun. It’s one of those environments that pulls you in – I found myself laughing along and grinning while I watched, along with everyone else at my table.
If you imagine over-the-top showgirls with large feathered headdresses, that’ll give you an idea of some of the costumes at the Moulin Rouge. I’m not sure how often the routine changes, but when I saw the show, it seemed to show a bunch of different cultures. They even had an American can-can skit! Because of this, the costumes changed a lot and were constantly surprising me, which I really enjoyed. There was even one routine where the girls came out in these towering headdresses that lit up. The costumes were absolutely awesome.
The dancing was amazing as well. Remember how I mentioned it was high energy? I have no idea how many dancers work here but I cannot imagine dancing this hard for the length of the show, let alone for two shows a night. And the high leg kicks … in unison… wowee. Amazing.
But the Moulin Rouge offered even more than dancing or costumes! There was even some acrobatics, live animal appearances, a water tank with a live animal… I don’t want to ruin the surprise (because it was truly shocking, the audience audibly gasped many times). But I love a show that is shocking in a good way, and the Moulin Rouge delivered!
Is the Moulin Rouge kid-friendly?
No. The ladies are topless or nearly topless for most of the show and wear thongs for most of the show, as well. But this is a great date night option!
Would it be lame to go to the Moulin Rouge as a solo traveler?
Absolutely not! I don’t get why people think it’s weird to do things like go to the movie theater alone… it’s not like you can talk anyway, so why does it matter if you’re sitting in the dark next to someone you know or not?
Attending a live performance is no different. When I travel alone, I honestly love the anonymity of sitting in
a dark theater enjoying live entertainment. Sometimes I don’t know how to spend my evenings when I travel solo because I don’t want to go to a bar or restaurant alone, so I end up in the hotel room. But with live entertainment, I’m surrounded by people doing something without that weird nagging feeling of judgment, because literally no one notices or cares that I’m there alone.
So, no, I think it’s actually great to go to the Moulin Rouge – or any other live performance – alone.
The final verdict: is the Moulin Rouge worth it?
I really truly enjoyed the show at the Moulin Rouge. I thought it was classy, entertaining, exciting, and surprising. I am not someone who enjoys tourist traps and I try to be very honest about what I liked and didn’t like. I wasn’t particularly fond of the Waco Silos or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, for instance. I didn’t think the Moulin Rouge was a tourist trap at all and I think I would actually go back to see the show again the next time I’m in Paris!
If you’re on the fence, I say go for it. I thought it was a lot of fun and so did everyone I talked to after the show. If you’re into the Vegas show vibe, then the Moulin Rouge is definitely something that you would enjoy.