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Nicole Kidman, have you been here?
Member Name: angusreid
Date: 14/12/05, updated on 14/12/05 (1344 review reads)
Advantages: Traditional thing to do really.
Disadvantages: Overpriced, underwhealming, underachieving, overcrowded and a bit of a let down.
Giuchie, Giuchie, ya ya here (here)
Mocha Chocalata ya ya (oh yea)
Creole lady Marmalade
Lyrics by Christine Aqua-lover
Our Christmas outing this year was to gay Paris, with a bus load of firemen from Dorset Fire and Rescue . Courtesy of my wife’s work. You know the ones, a 13 hour coach trip when we could have paid half and flew there in an hour? But it was fun and I never would have got to discuss the merits of keeping a small lizard in an ashtray if I had not travelled by wheels.
Included in our 3 night stay was a visit to the Moulin Rouge (roughly translated “Mouldy Red”.) including dinner for the princely sum of £98 per person or should I say poison? Anyway, let me tell you the boring bits first (unless I already have.)
On October 5, 1889, the Moulin Rouge opened as the "Rendez-vous du high life" which roughly translated means meeting place for tall people. (Please note; my translations may not be very accurate.) It was a famed music hall for the “wanna be” Goths, ant establishmentarians, rebels and perverts really! Well, if you wanted to see a girl flash her knickers at you then look no further. Toulouse Lautrec, (Roughly translated; to lose ones track of direction) the famous dwarf-like artist used to hang out here literally. He painted those famous turn of the century posters that depicted the sexual presence of the French folly in her fur coat and no knickers pose. Well he had his own high chair and was welcomed as he spent a fair few bob on the girls, if you know what I mean.
Situated in the Montmartre district of Paris, (roughly translated; Mounting a Martyr) an area noted for its red light district, sleazy peep shows and now DVD/Porn shops, this area is a place of two evils in a way. At the bottom of the hill or mount you have the sleaze and at the top, up hundreds of blardy stairs, you have the Sacre Coeur, (Roughly translated: sack of coal) a symbolic monument of how money can have anything built in the name of religion. This church or shrine to JC can be seen from all over Paris with its white domes and massive view point. In fact, if you stand at the observatory south of Luxembourg Palace, some 2 miles due south of the Seine, you can see her glistening when the sun shines on her, as we were fortunate enough to witness ourselves.
Anyway, if you can imagine the Rendezvous in Soho, then you have the Moulin Rouge in Paris.
Famous for its big windmill outside the building and her crude neon lights, but more famous for her cancan dancers with their high kicking spectacle of flamboyant feathered frolics. We arrived at 6.30 to be made to wait outside in the freezing cold for 20 minutes, just to improve Anglo-French relations. This played havoc with the ladies in their elegant frocks of fine, flimsy material. However, once inside it warmed up, by about 3 degrees and I do not mean they were the cabaret.
Sat at our paste tables on seats more familiar in primary school classrooms, we were served the free champagne which was included in the price of the meal (half a bottle per person) it was, to be fair, very nice and not too cheap tasting. Our starter came, a lovely potato and a hint of leek soup! A bread stick was offered in the guise of a bread roll but I was not fooled. After the somewhat disappointment of this powdered offering, a plate came with veal upon it, small breaded and similar to that you would expect on a table in Benidorm rather than a country famous for her cuisine. Our meal ended with a piece of cake filled with cold custard, mmm, I can tell you are all jealous.
The meal was nothing short of a disgrace and something I would have sent back even at a cheap Christmas dinner, but considering the company we were with and the environment of the Moulin Rouge, I think it would have done far worse to complain than to just let it lie. To make matters worse, there was a leaflet on the table stating the minimum drinks order per person was 95 Euros, or an incredible £65 each! So that half bottle of champagne was made to stretch for the 4 hours we were in there. They really rubbed it in when the cabaret act they put on stage to entertain us during the meal were obviously Eurovision rejects and we had the gendarme (roughly translated; gender of your arm.) notified who charged them of 14 different accounts of murdering songs! Aye carumba, I hear you say, why did you not just leave? Well, two reasons, one was the £95 we paid to get in and the second was the show had not started.
At last, we sighed a sigh of relief as the curtains gave way to a ménage of colour and sparkle and the show began.
Straight away, the topless girls started the show with song and dance and big cheesy grins. The music was loud but not too loud so that you could not hear each other talk. The dancing was pretty good to be honest and after the novelty of the girls being topless wore off you did not really notice their predicament. In fact, it did lead to the question as to why they had to be topless to start with? The choreography was good and their timing was pretty impressive so we started to relax a bit in our small chairs.
Next, two male acrobats performed an act of sheer strength and balance and it kept the women glued to the stage for a while and us men calling them gay or impotent. Seriously though, they had amazing strength and their performance was pretty impressive. Other shows between the acts were a talking mime artist, (yeah, really!) and a unicycle balancing man who juggled and stuff.
More dancing and more costume changes followed and one fantastic performance when one of the dancers leapt into a tank of snakes, some as long as 10ft I would say and swam amongst them, wrapping them around her neck and body and generally scaring the hell out of Ophidiophobes. But after a while the dancing became a bit of the same old same old and when they eventually did the cancan, if was more to wake the audience up than to showpiece their famous trademark. After that, it became more a glance at the watch time than a watch them dance time and when the final curtain came down I was the first person at the cloakroom and first to leave the building.
The music score was that of a typical dance hall, loud and promiscuous, bold and brassy. Although the headphones they sang through (or mimed, you decide.) killed any music hall days reminiscing, you still enjoyed the show as a whole. What did surprise me though is that having seen the movie Moulin Rouge, none of the songs from that were actually in the actual show. Okay, I did not think there would be a giant elephant and a love song medley but I thought lady marmalade may have spread herself within the show.
Was I disappointed, you bethca bottom dollar I was, but mainly with the meal and the ambience if I am honest, had I have paid the 97 Euros for the show (about £65) and got in at 9 instead of 7, I would not have been as bored waiting around and would have probably had a nice plate of Moules Mariner (roughly translated; Mouldy seaman.) inside my belly. So I think the show was okay but not worth anymore than say £30/50 Euros but the meal is not worthy of an Iceland 3 for £5 special.
If you go to Paris and you really love dancing and shows, then go, just to say you have but I feel that you will only be kidding yourself if you think it is either value for money or a unique show.
It was not the near £100 we paid (each) that disappointed me, I would gladly pay twice that for a good evenings entertainment, it was the pre-conceived notion and romance I thought the Moulin Rouge would provide us with that let me down.
I would have preferred to sit in a Latin Quarter café and listen to a sax player jamming or even the purr of the nights pulsating mood than be crammed like battery hens in a place living on its reputation.
But don’t go there unless you have nothing Toulouse.
Summary: Only go there if you are a fanatic of dance and pomp.