Everyone in the world knows of the Moulin Rouge because of Baz Luhrmann’s film and therefore upon seeing it live people expect the glamour, the elephant and the songs of “Love Can Keep Us Together.” At first, none of this seems to be present, but an adventure through the neigborhood brings the movie alive.
First, start walking up the hill to Sacre Coeur, the church which was constructed in 1873 on the butte of Montmartre, first because of its height and second because of its the symbolism of the martyrdom of Saint Denis. Take a tour of the church, glimpsing the Oriental influenced towers, the paintings and the statues. Note that the style is not the same as Saint Roch, Notre Dame or the many other churches around the city.
Pass the church behind to see the Place du Terte where the artists gather to sell their paintings, the place often seen in the postcards and the little cafes (usually overpriced) and the small streets with tourist overflow–but that is to be expected in Paris, right?
Continue on the street behind the Place just until Rue Lepic where there is a real windmill (sorry to break your hearts but the one at MR is not the same). The Moulin de la Galette, one of two original windmills, used to be a popular dance hall in the area. Currently there is a cute little restaurant below it that brings to life the romance shared between two characters in the film.
Continue down Rue Lepic to enjoy the art of the area. See the man running out of walls probably sweating off the green fairy and the flower man. We thought it was a real person, since Sacre Coeur is known for people statues, but it turned out to not be.
The end of the street, mostly downhill, is the Moulin Rouge. As to be expected there were beaucoup de touristes making fashion or other poses in front of it, but I didn’t feel like they were the same ones imposed on the film screen. It was more dull.
Every evening there is a show full of glitz, sparkle, and shine for a minimum price of 109 euros a person, but I guess if you are on vacation, go for it. What are your thoughts on the Moulin Rouge?
Another cool way to check out the Montmartre neighborhood is L’Esprit de Montmartre, a theatrical production that follows the lives of the artists and writers who once strolled these streets. We saw it live while we were there and it was totally cool!
As for me, I want to continue walking the tiny streets with my husband and see their magic through the eyes of lovers who have walked the same path before us.
For more adventures or tips about Parisian life and tourism check out: http://adventuresalafrancaise.blogspot.com/and start your own adventure!