Paris has always known how to put on a show and have fun especially at night. The city is one giant seething mass of bars, cafés, lounges, esoteric drinking cellars, factories-turned-rave-dance-halls, barges converted to snooty restaurants and fancy cocktail bars. Just about everywhere there are drinking places, clubs and bistros that attract with the pounding beats of electro, retro rock, reggae, jazz, you name it.
‘Life’ Liza Minelli once warbled, ‘is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret!’ That urge to taste its pleasures still rings out loud and shines bright in gay Paree. Paris, always a ‘good time city’, was one of the first in the world to put up street lighting, which only served to extend those good time hours. The sheer numbers, variety and quality of entertainment choices can, at times, be overwhelming.
But nothing says Paris like cabaret!
Moulin Rouge is probably the most famous cabaret nightclub in the whole wide world and the spiritual birthplace of the can-can. Its cabaret featuring ladies dressed in feathers, sequins and not much else draws people from all over the world like moths to its bright gaudy iconic red windmill entrance. The very name and the images it conjures up gets the heart racing.
The Moulin Rouge is about 125 years old; the can-can and cabaret has evolved but the sheer seductiveness of the place has just kept growing. The decor still harks back to those carefree hedonistic days captured by Tolouse-Lautrec’s fabulous posters. The thought of watching a show with a glass of champagne in hand at the Moulin Rouge is inspiration enough to pack one’s bags for Paris.
There is nothing modest about the Lido. From its grand facade, its opulent interiors, a panoramic theatre style that seats over a thousand people, its six floor height to its Champs-Elysées address – it shouts out flamboyance. It is over-the-top in a spectacular and glamorous way.
The Lido puts on amazing shows because it has the space to install lavish sets including a skating rink, water curtain and a swimming pool. The Lido specializes in jaw-dropping effects and absolutely gorgeous and talented performers. The current show, Bonheur is a stunning and exotic example of what they are capable of. It involves 70 performers, 23 sets and 600 costumes with lots of sparkles, feathers and beautiful bodies. You will not lack for visual stimulation. Oh yes, the food is superb too.
Paradis Latin Show
The Paradis Latin claims to be the oldest cabaret venue in Paris having been around since 1802. What is certainly indisputable is that they put on really risqué shows. Located in the legendary Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, the Paradis Latin has glamour by the bucket-load highlighted by classy decor that is reminiscent of late nineteenth, early twentieth century Paris.
Looks aside, the Paradis Latin puts on sensual shows with unrestrained energy and spectacular settings. The choreography is breathtaking and involves ballet, tap dancing and even circus-type acts. They rope in some of the best known talents from around the world who are capable of making you forget the glass of wine in your hand. At the Paradis, you will never sit back and relax. It’s all edge of the seat ‘naughty’ entertainment.
Crazy Horse Show
Avant garde, sensual, risqué! Those are just some of the terms you could use to describe the performances at the Crazy Horse. It is fairly young (in terms of age) among Paris’ cabaret venues with all the brashness and vitality of youth. The Crazy Horse puts on a wide variety of turns including musical, magic, juggling and mime but its worldwide reputation is based on its “aesthetic celebration of the female form as an expression of art.” It is one of world’s most famous burlesque theatres focusing its creative energies to celebrating the female body. The current revue is a new show called Désirs.
A converted wine cellar, The Crazy Horse resides in an imposing building on Avenue George V. The interior is relatively small in scale with tables, comfortable armchairs and mood lighting providing a cozy atmosphere. The whole effect and design is to make the experience intimate for the audience and get them close up to the stage and performers.
To the Mugler Follies goes the title of the ‘baby of Paris cabarets.’ The brainchild of Theirry Manfred Mugler, the cabaret at this venue is both innovative and enchanting. Mugler brings all his experience, as an haute couture designer and his work with the Cirque de Soleil, to the revue.
He has taken over the Comedia, a 1930s theatre and imbued it with his rather unique vision. He has put together a show that is ultra-modern, giving a fresh spin to the classic French cabaret. The shows are total entertainment, combining glamorous characters, sophisticated erotic scenes, whimsical dances, fantastic lighting and other eye-popping effects. They can also be beautiful and shocking at the same time. The Mugler Follies has acrobats, singers, dancers and choreography combining original scripts, music and songs.
Mugler Follies is Paris’s newest and most mind-expanding while also being the best value Cabaret show!
Remember though when you start out on your aventures nocturnes Parisiens, that attire is very important. A tie and jacket is not compulsory. However, short-pants, jeans, sport shoes and sportswear are prohibited.