6 Oct: Bienvenue au Moulin Rouge

The world’s most famous cabaret, the Moulin Rouge, opened its doors in Paris on 6th October, 1889. Founded by Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler, the club was originally called the Jardin de Paris and featured everything from art galleries to operettas, live tableau and an opium den.

In the era of the Belle Epoque, however, the venue became most associated with the scandalous can-can dance, which actually originated in London but found its home in Montmartre.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how a giant stucco elephant became part of the opening attractions; recall what happened when the Prince of Wales, future Edward VII, went to check out the entertainment on offer; and unpick the notorious novelty act ‘Le Pétomane’ (Joseph Pujol), and his, um, unique control over airflow…

Further Reading:

• ’The original Moulin Rouge the year before it burned down and other historical images, 1890-1930’ (Rare Historical Photos): https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/original-moulin-rouge-1914/

• ‘Fart history? Joseph Pujol trumps them all’ (The Guardian, 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/aug/20/fart-history-joseph-pujol-trumps-them-all

• ‘Moulin Rouge Paris’ (Explore France, 2016):