Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pigalle & Le Moulin Rouge

Keep the children at home, remind the husband of his marriage vows, and practice saying voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir (or not!). Pigalle is the quartier chaud, in other words, the red light district of the city of Paris. It is situated in the 18th arrondissement (the shady side) and its tacky neon lights is the total cliché of the sex industry. The crowd in the area is a mix of the night people, its original habitants, and tourists.

Prostitution is not illegal in France. However, it IS illegal to work for a pimp or to solicit your services in the streets. Flashing private parts isn't allowed either, thank god. However, if a man happens to buy a bottle or two of champagne in your seedy club, and you just happen to drag him over to the private room with your skirt down, well, that will be simply considered "guest relations".

In the middle of it all, lies the infamous Moulin Rouge. Tickets for the show if I'm not mistaken costs €80 pp, that includes 2 drinks. Dinner + show costs from €150-€180 (depending on the dinner you choose). I was at first enthralled by the costumes and feathers and the whole set up, but after 15 minutes or so, it became harder and harder to be impressed. The women (of which maybe 20% are French) are constantly topless, the songs pretty lame, and in general it is very catered to tourists. The crowd varies from families with very young children, and groups of curious old men probably from countries where showing your boobs in public will end up in a death sentence. I say don't waste your money. Take your pictures in front of the theater, make sure your bags are zipped and get the hell out of the area.

If you are looking for a cabaret show that is worth that much money, go checkout Lido.

Metro: Pigalle, Anvers
Photos by Yamil Gonzalez

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