Cancan or Eurovision?
September 25, 2007, 2:47 pm
Filed under: france, theatre, travel

Something else I thought Ian should see while in Paris was the Moulin Rouge. I’d been to look at the Moulin Rouge, with its garish lights and suggestive posters, other times in Paris. Most of those times I’ve been a skint backpacker, so entering the boudoir had been out of the question. But after a year working in the UK, with my guy in tow, seemed like a good time to fork out the extravagant cost of an evening show. By the time this plan occurred to me we were far from Montmatre base, closer to the heart of Paris. So we went to a nearby tourist office and asked for tickets for le spectacle ce soir.

“Non”, the lady shook her head, “you can’t get tickets for the Moulin Rouge at the last minute, it’s too busy.”

“Mais nous sommes ici seulement pour ce soir,” I lamented.

She gave me a look of sympathy and a shrug, but whipped out a brochure and called the number. She spoke in much more rapid French to the lady at Moulin Rouge. She looked surprised.

“You have good fortune! There are two tickets left for tonight!” Then she glanced at Ian’s ridiculous ‘sports casual’ T-shirt.

“But you need to dress up, eh? You cannot enter the Moulin Rouge in a teeshirte,” she explained. I silently praised myself for packing a dress and some less practical but more elegant black shoes. Such decisions are hard when backpacking.

So several hours later we descended into the Moulin Rouge. We were seated, squashed into the far left corner (as happens with last minute miracle tickets), next to a Scottish couple. The waiter brought our obligatory bottle of champagne.

I was delighted that the Scottish bloke was wearing a kilt. I wish Australia had an outlandish national costume that passes as formal wear. I only noticed that when we left though, because for the two-hour-long show I was dazzled by the costumes on stage. The bare breasts kept Ian enthralled, while I was amused by the fuzzy tomatoes that flipped into lips and then tails.

The Can-Can was classy, but to be honest the rest of the show was more comically Eurovision than what I expected from the posters. There were some awful 80s space-age costumes accompanied by bad English singing (why? Why? I thought the French were too proud to sing in English!? For good reason!), and unflattering hooped clown outfits. It was definitely the Moulin Rouge though. I’ve never seen a clown with bare breasts bouncing around before.


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