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Paris - Red light District

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Published on May 18, 2008

Moulin Rouge (French for Red Windmill) is a cabaret built in 1889 by Josep Oller, who also owned the Paris Olympia. It is near Montmartre in the Paris red-light district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement, it is recognized by the facsimile of a red windmill on its roof.

The Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering musical dance entertainment for adult visitors from around the world. Much of the romance from turn-of-the-century France is still present in the club's decor.

Notable performers at the Moulin Rouge have included La Goulue, Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril, Mistinguett, Le Pétomane, Édith Piaf and others. The Moulin Rouge was also the subject of paintings by post-impressionist painter Toulouse Lautrec.

Pigalle, the old red-light district Paris, is the new red hot neighborhood. It is a curious blend: beautiful landmark burlesque theaters mixing with very bourgeois buildings, prostitutes and artists, the Moulin Rouge and the mobs doing Paris by Night.

Pigalle is becoming very chic, so chic that its real estate is now almost out of reach. The heart of the neighborhood is the "Divan du Monde", a unique night club/cabaret where over 1 million people have met in just a few years, one of the city's most creative spots.

The backbone of Pigalle, at the foot of the butte Montmartre, is the Boulevard de Clichy and the Place Pigalle. The very trendy (the French now say "très tendance") street is the rue des Abbesses.

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