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May 3, 2016

18 Rare and Amazing Vintage Photographs of the Moulin Rouge Cabaret and Its Can-Can Dancers From the 1890s to the 1930s

The Moulin Rouge was founded in 1889 by Joseph Oller (1839-1922) and Charles Zidler (1831-1897). Located at the bottom of a hill in the Montmartre neighborhood, it opened its doors on October 10. Its founders wanted to create a place dedicated to entertainment for a diverse public and the fact that it was located in Paris’s 18th district (a fashionable but still quite rural area at the time), allowed the cabaret to quickly acquire a solid reputation that would in turn inspire international artists like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Auguste Renoir.

At the beginning, the Moulin Rouge would throw champagne-filled parties during which famous dancers performed. It was also during this time that the world famous quartet known as the French Cancan was born. The Moulin Rouge served drinks during shows, spectators sometimes themselves dancing on the dance floor that was installed to admire the performers up close. With an unconventional architectural style and extravagant decoration (including an elephant in the garden!), the Moulin Rouge was more than adept at attracting clients who simply wanted to have fun.



1900. The gardens of the Moulin Rouge, featuring a massive hollow elephant.

c. 1915. American sailors visit the Moulin Rouge during World War I.

1924. The Hoffman Girls backstage before a performance.

1930. Dancers apply makeup in the dressing room.

1926. Edmonde Guydens dances at the Moulin Rouge.




1929. Moulin Rouge dancers visit the Eiffel Tower.

c. 1930. Moulin Rouge dancers practice in the Bois de Boulogne.





Aug. 8, 1940. Occupying German soldiers pass by the Moulin Rouge.

1940. German soldiers talk to French women during the occupation of Paris.

(Photos: Getty Images, via Mashable/Retronaut)



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