Le Moulin Rouge

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Le Moulin Rouge
(meaning - The Red Mill)
is a very famous cabaret club in Paris.  It was built in 1889 - the same year as the completion of the Eiffel Tower! 
 The club is recognised by an imitation red windmill on its roof.

Le Moulin Rouge 
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, by author Arpingstone.)
 

In the 1830s a dance known as the cancan first appeared in Parisian cabaret clubs.  It was regularly performed at Le Moulin Rouge.  The cancan is a very energetic and acrobatic dance.  It is performed by ladies dressed in frilly skirts who have to kick their legs high, perform cartwheels and the splits.  The ladies squeal and screech as they dance. 

The word cancan means 'scandalous gossip'.  In fact, the dance has always been considered most 'scandalous' because the dancers lift their petticoats and show their legs.

Lautrec
(Painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: La Troupe de Mlle. Eglantine, 1896.  Image from Wikimedia Commons.)


The famous artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted the dancers and scenes at Le Moulin Rouge.

La Goulue by Toulouse-Lautrecpainting by Toulouse-LautrecJane Avril by Toulouse-Lautrec

The two most famous cancan dancers were Jane Avril and La Goulue.  They were regular performers at Le Moulin Rouge. Below is a photo of La Goulue.  Her real name was Louise Weber and she lived from 1829 to 1866.
cancan 
(Source: Wikimedia Commons.)


french musicTo hear the traditional cancan music composed by Jacques Offenbach in 1858, go to the JUKEBOX and listen to Track 40. 


A famous singer from Paris was Edith Piaf. 
She was very small and often performed wearing a black dress.  It was said that she looked like a little sparrow, so she was given the nickname 'La Môme Piaf' which means 'little sparrow' in Parisian slang.  Her real name was Edith Gassion and she was born in 1915.  She died in 1963.  She sang in Parisian
nightclubs, including Le Moulin Rouge.

Edith Piaf
(Image from Wikipedia, source Brittanica.com.  Copyright holder United Press International/Bettman Newsphotos. )

french musicTo hear Edith Piaf singing her two most famous songs, click HERE and listen to Tracks 41 and 42.