Let me start by saying the Moulin Rouge is not cheap, two tickets (with dinner) cost €290, so it was with some justification that I expected a fairly impressive night out - it turned out to be a night of three half's (to coin a phase).
My wife and I arrived early, not realising that the Moulin Rouge is set right in the middle of Paris's red light district. I arrived expecting a West-End or Broadway but it's actually like, well, a seedy red light district. Undaunted we decided to have a look around but theres only so many sex shows and sex shops you can be invited into before it all becomes a bit boring and so we ended up popping into a fairly nice English pub for a drink before the show.
Our ticket told (not asked - told!) us to be there at 6.45pm and so we were, where we had the pleasure of joining a huge queue and then left waiting for 1/2 an hour before they decided to admit us. To be fair, once the queue got going it really moved, including the coat room and from which we where quickly ushered to our seats. As seats go we had pretty good ones, good view of the stage with no one blocking our view. Unfortunately the seats where designed (I think) for very small, very slim people and while I'm not very tall I'm definitely not slim. The Moulin Rouge crams 850 seats into an area that probably should accommodate 400, I can only say that this must be where they got the idea for tinned sardines from.
After a mere five minutes of trying to find the least uncomfortable way to sit our waiter arrived to take our order, we both ordered the soup and veal. While we waited for the food to arrived we noticed that our seat was directly over an air vent which blasted (I'm not kidding) cold air into our seating area. Because of this my wife commenced a cat and mouse game with our waiter in an attempt to get the vent turned off/lowered/blocked/us moved which lasted the entire meal but ended with her just getting her coat from the cloak room. They clearly knew about the problem (the girl in the cloak room sympathised) but they had clearly learned the best way to deal with it was to make a half hearted show of trying to solve the problem and running away every time you make eye contact.
Onto the food. I can safely say it was the worst food I have ever eaten (let alone paid for) in my entire life. Honestly, it would make a Dickensian schoolmaster blush. It was vile! the "soup" was vegetables cooked in stock, the veal .... I don't even want to think about it but it was served with plain rice which, while tasteless, we did manage to eat. No coffee or tea was offered.
By now we where in a foul mood and when the show started at 9 I was just about ready to leave, thank god we didn't.
The opening act at the Moulin Rouge is without doubt the gayest thing I have ever seen. I literally watched it with my mouth agape. It was so cheesy and camp and colourful I was blown away. The rest of the show is pretty much the same - amazing sets, outrageous costumes, terrible songs - very very entertaining. They even had a pool of water raised from under stage containing 3 live pythons (not this type) where a "sacrifice" was thrown in, the girl then started grabbing the pythons and wrapping them around here as the poor animals tried desperately to get away - pure magic! The whole night completely redeemed itself, I just wish they hadn't served us food!