A Night at Le Moulin Rouge: is it Really Worth it?

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When it comes to Paris, the famous red windmill of Le Moulin Rouge is just as iconic as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or the Louvre. First built in the late 1800s this world-famous cabaret has attracted visitors from across the globe for over a century. With its risqué performances and beautiful dancers, Le Moulin rouge has inspired a collection of films, books, and even a song. Voulez vous couchez avec moi anyone? But the real question is: is the Moulin Rouge worth it? Here’s my thoughts based on my own personal experience. 

Moulin Rouge, Paris

As you know, the Moulin Rouge is quite famous. Of course, with the fame comes the big price tag and the difficulty getting tickets. As I found out, rather embarrassingly on my first trip to Paris in 2011, one cannot just expect to get tickets the night of. You need to book in advance. Not just a day in advance, like a few weeks or even months in advance.

In 2012 I went back to Paris for the second time, this time bringing my mom. She wanted to go as badly as I did so we booked out tickets right away to ensure we could get in. The night of the show we arrived thirty minutes early and joined the massive line. We chatted excitedly before a man’s voice spoke up behind me.

“Are you one of the dancers?”

At first I wondered if he was blind because that was possible one of the worst pick-up lines ever. But, it turns out that he just wanted to tell me how terrible the show was; that it was a waste of money and I was only going to be disappointed. I smiled back politely and pretended to listen but as we moved further up the line I began to wonder, was he right? Was was the Moulin Rouge worth the money or was I going to be disappointed?

Moulin Rouge, Paris

Turns out that I wasn’t disappointed at all. I loved every single minute of it. So much so that when I returned to Paris for the third time in 2017 I booked tickets to go again. And guess what? I loved it just as much the second time around as I did the first.

Did I understand it all? Nope. Yes, I’m Canadian but no I don’t speak fluent French. But, I didn’t have to speak the language to enjoy the show. Dazzling costumes, talented dancers, fun numbers, and jaw-dropping acrobatic acts had me sitting on the edge of my seat all night long.

So, is the Moulin Rouge worth it? I absolutely think so. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s touristy. But it is a unique experience that promises to entertain.

Tips for the Going to the Moulin Rouge

  •  Book your tickets in advance! There are two shows every night; a 9pm show and an 11pm show. The 9pm show books up fastest so if thats the time you want, book really early.
  • Not only do you need to book early, but you need to arrive early. Really early. Seats are first come first serve, so if you want great seats, be prepared to wait outside for awhile.
  • Dress up! No, I don’t mean suits and gowns but ditch the yoga pants and running shoes! Its a night out in Paris, dress for the occasion.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Don’t forget travel insurance!

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The Moulin Rouge, Paris


  1. wanderoneday on October 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for the advice! My mom actually said this is one of the place she’d like to visit next year while we’re in France, so it’s good to know that we need to buy tickets way ahead of time.

    I started to come up with a ton of questions but then realized you answered them all in the post – so nice job with that 🙂

    • Hannah on October 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I hope you end up going! I loved it! And if you think of any questions feel free to ask 🙂

  2. travellingbag on October 10, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I’ve been twice and absolutley loved it both times. If I ever get to Paris again I’ll definately do Moulin Rouge a third time 🙂

  3. Natalie on January 1, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Do you have any suggestion as to where and how to book in advance for tickets to Moulin Rouge?

    • Hannah on January 1, 2013 at 2:29 am

      I booked my tickets online through viator: http://www.viator.com/tours/Paris/Moulin-Rouge-Show-Paris/d479-5022MOULIN
      That way if I had a problem (which I did) I had someone that spoke english to help fix (which they did). If you go that route check online and see if you can find a promo code- I ended up getting I think 10% off because of a coupon, and it’s not cheap so every bit counts! Definitely worth it though!
      Just make sure you book in advance! It sells out super quick.

      • Natalie on January 4, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        Thanks, Hannah. Will definitely try that. I did not see your reply until just now, even though I was checking every day. Happy New Year!!

        • Hannah on January 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm

          Weird since I replied right away! As long as you got the info though- hopefully things work out! Happy new year to you too 🙂

  4. Retha the Roaming Nanny on August 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I’m planning a trip to Paris right now and was wondering if I should go. I’m still on the fence because of the cost, but thanks for all the great information.

    • Hannah Logan on August 6, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I really enjoyed it so I say its worth it!

  5. Valerie on November 6, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I actually agree with the guy who asked you if you were one of the dancers… the show was horrible and a major disappointment. I don’t recommend wasting your time or money to go to this. The production itself is deeply flawed playing music with prerecorded backing, “singers” lip syncing, lots and lots of in synchronized dancing, animals that would much rather be somewhere else, cheesy song selections, uncomfortable, overly crowded seats… oh the list goes on! Paris is such a Mecca to the performing arts! Go checkout the ballet or opera for real, authentic talent before watching this mess of a show.

    • Hannah Logan on November 7, 2018 at 2:43 am

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I is a cabaret so I expected a lot of what you didn’t like (lip synching, synchronized dancing) but I guess if you went in thinking you were getting something broadway or opera worthy you might be let down.

  6. […] loved every minute of it. Personally, if you love live entertainment and shows, I think that the Moulin Rouge in Paris is a must. Visitors can book either show + dinner ticket or show + drink […]

  7. […] a taxi for peace of mind. I’ve done this even with friends after getting out late from the Moulin Rouge. It’s just more comfortable and that’s worth the money. After all, I’d do the […]

  8. […] is also home to some once-in-a-lifetime experiences as well. Seeing the Mona Lisa, or going to the Moulin Rouge (which is totally worth it!). If you are coming all the way to Paris, do yourself a favour and […]

  9. […] and elaborate, sparkling costumes. I’ve been twice now and have loved it both times around (click here to read why I recommend it). It’s an enchanting performance and the perfect way to end a rainy day in […]

  10. […] Wondering is the Moulin Rouge is worth it? Read why I think so here. […]

  11. Greg B on April 30, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    Hi has anyone actually had dinner and show would like to know if the food is worth the extra money?

    • Hannah Logan on May 8, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      I haven’t. I’ve heard mixed reviews but nobody has ever told me dinner itself is amazing in comparison to other restaurants in Paris.

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