- Mar 6, 2019
- All things Paris
- Anna Livesey
Ahh Paris, the capital of the cabaret. There’s no more quintessential representation of Parisian nightlife than an evening at the cabaret. For many visitors and residents alike, however, knowledge does not extend beyond the legendary Moulin Rouge and its cinematic glory. You’ll be pleased to hear that there are actually a ton of other places to catch a French cabaret while in Paris, each coming with their own unique experience. Beginning with four of the city’s most major cabaret venues, we’ll introduce you to a few additional and more intimate alternatives. Here’s our exhaustive breakdown of Parisian cabaret options for your viewing splendour...
The Moulin Rouge
Any good cabaret catalogue must begin with the world’s most renowned: the infamous Moulin Rouge. Immortalised in Baz Luhrmann’s glitzy 2001 blockbuster of the same name, the real Moulin Rouge has been the global capital of cabaret since its opening in 1889. Steeped in this long and flamboyant history, now the Moulin Rouge welcomes thousands of tourists each night for a two-hour long tribute to 120 years of burlesque opulence. It’s the birthplace of the can-can dance, home to one of Paris largest nightclubs, La Machine du Moulin Rouge, and about as kitsch as a cabaret can get. What’s not to love? A word from the wise, though: book this one the moment you’ve got your city-break dates in the diary, the Moulin Rouge is a sure sell-out.
Location: Pigalle, at the foot of Montmartre
Starting price: 87€
Packages possible: show only, show + drinks, show + dinner, VIP seats, VIP seats + dinner
Playing: every night, 9pm or 11pm
This international celebrity favourite features world-class dancers complete with legendary lighting and special effects. A show 65 years in the making, Totally Crazy at the Crazy Horse is a collection of iconic cabaret acts, revisited with a twist. More risqué than the city’s other shows and with an all-female troupe of performers, Totally Crazy is a true ode to femininity. The venue, whose name is a tribute to the American Sioux chief Crazy Horse, was originally a swanky wine cellar constructed in the 1950s, before its transformation into a staple of Parisian nightlife. Since then it has played host to the likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and burlesque icon Dita Von Teese.
Location: Steps from the iconic Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Starting price: 85€
Packages possible: show only, show + drinks, show + dinner in a nearby restaurant
Playing: Two showings daily, every night
Home to a large number of Paris’ universities and campuses, the Latin Quarter is known as one of the city’s more studious areas. Bringing an irreverent twist to this seat of learning, the Paradis Latin cabaret is a favourite with the locals. The venue has a history that dates back to Napoleon, was designed by architect Gustave Eiffel himself, and welcomes a predominantly French audience of regulars. All of which combine to make it Paris’ most authentic cabaret offering. The tickets are also comparatively cheaper than elsewhere and the traditional French dinner fare is reliably exquisite.
Location: Nestled around the back of the Sorbonne University in Paris’ Latin Quarter
Starting price: 75€
Packages possible: show only, show + drinks, show + drinks + dinner
Playing: Wednesday through Sunday, 8pm or 9:30pm
Le Lido de Paris is the biggest and brashest of all the city’s cabarets. With space for over a thousand spectators, the Lido is a sprawling mega-spectacle, complete with circus-like performances and state of the art technical flourishes. Show girls are joined by jugglers, acrobats, and magicians, on a stage that metamorphoses into a swimming pool (the Lido’s signature piece) at the flick of a switch. More Vegas in scale than your average cutesy Parisian venue, this cabaret is all about sensory overload.
Location: Along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Starting price: 75€
Packages possible: show only, show + drinks, show + dinner
Playing: every night, 9pm or 11pm
In terms of location, it doesn’t get much better than this: Cabaret Burlesque unfolds on a boat in the shadow of Notre Dame itself. A celebration of feminine beauty in all its forms, this burlesque shines the limelight on bodies of every possible sort, shape, and size. A more comedic take on the traditional showgirl performance, Cabaret Burlesque breathes new life into an age-old art form and leaves its audience in stitches night after night.
Location: La Nouvelle Seine, a unique theatre on a barge in the shadow of Notre Dame
Starting price: 23€
Packages possible: show only, show + drinks
Playing: Friday and Saturday, 11pm
Copyright © Ludivine Grandsart
Reducing all of cabaret’s best bits down to an altogether more intimate scale, this one woman show is Paris’ freshest remake of the burlesque tradition. La Goulue tells the story of Louise Weber, a historic can-can dancer and star of the Moulin Rouge. With the help of an accordion and lungfuls of French gusto, actress Delphine Grandsart brings a surge of energy to this most petite of Parisian theatres. The cavernous Théâtre Essaïon is carved out of a wine cellar beneath the winding alleyways of the Marais, the perfect location to grab some after-cabaret refreshment.
Location: Théâtre Essaïon, an underground theatre by contemporary art gallery the Pompidou Centre
Starting price: 25€
Packages possible: show only
Playing: two nights a week until 25 June