Once in a very great while spending 204 euros on a crappy bottle of Champagne is a pretty good idea. Tonight was one of those nights. In fact I actually spent 234 euros on that crappy bottle of Champagne when you include the 30 euro tip for the tuxedoed French maitre d’, but I always say, “when you are overspending, stretch it out to its maximum potential,” and I’m really good at it!
The Moulin Rouge is somewhere between the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen and the most wonderful, and I don’t really know which side it is closer to. I can only say that I’m really glad that we didn’t let some bad on line reviews and a heavy price tag scare us away. The evening was magical!
We had stopped by Moulin Rouge the day before while touring Monmarte to see about tickets, hearing that they could be scarce. We made our reservation for the Friday night 9 p.m. show only, no dinner. They didn’t ask for any money, just a name and told us to arrive a half an hour early for seating. On the night of the show we arrived to a very full hall, even though we were there the prescribed half an hour early. Seems that the people who paid the 304 euros for dinner and a show had already been seated, those of us for show only were to be filled in along the sides and in the back. Knowing a thing or two about seating, I approached the maitre d’ stand and asked if seating was all pre-arranged while holding 30 euros in my hand. We were swiftly escorted to the front of the room by the side of the stage where we still sat at an overcrowded table with two other couples, but at least we were out of the “bleachers” of the Red windmill, balls deep in tourists. I called it a win, CJ agreed.
In the end we saw jugglers, ventriloquists, male and female dancers of various skill, acrobats, some amazing costumes a whole lot of boobies. We smiled widely, laughed uncontrollably, were amazed by the grace and strength of a few unusually gifted performers, and we drank our crappy Champagne that couldn’t have been more delicious if it had been Dom Perignon. The best part of all of it for me though was seeing that magic twinkle in the eye of a pretty redhead, sitting across the table from me, mesmerized like a little girl realizing yet another lifelong dream. For a moment in time I could have been Henri Toulouse-Lautrec sketching my next poster while watching the Can-Can with his pretty young companion. Is there really any price tag you can put on that experience? To all those detractors who call this place a tourist trap I say, “I think not!”