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The History of the Real Moulin Rouge!

On Sunday, 6 October 1889 the Moulin Rouge first opened it's doors to the public. Little did the managers Joseph Oller and Charles Zidler (you should recognise the surname)know that it would become a world sensation and be made into an amazing, blockbuster movie! They envisioned something a little more quaint - 'a cabaret that transcended class and boundaries'. The actual building was designed ahead of its time - the facade was done up in glittering electric lights - a novelty at that time. A huge red windmill dominated the front of the building, indicating the history of Montmartre, a village that was once dominated by windmills. A gothic-style castle was built to the left of the Moulin Rouge and in the garden stood a large elephant shaped building - an opium den for the richer gentlemen. Also within the building itself was a shining dance hall - an exquisite site to look at. Many stories of the Moulin Rouge are still told today, most famously by the film. It was reknowned for the opium dens, the sex for sale and the poisoning of mind and body with absinthe. Most famous of all, though, were Zidler's Can-Can girls. There was Mome Fromage (the cheese kid - u may remember her as the large, blonde woman), Nini-Pattes-en-l'air (Nini Legs in the Air - featured in the film as the bitch who let slip the secret to the duke), Toulouse Lautrec's favourite dancer, Jane Avril and many others. These people became outright celebrities, and made Zidler's club the most infamous and successful of all the cabarets of that time. Although the main storyline of the film is fictional there were many people in it who could have been around at the time of the Moulin Rouge and lived the lives that are depicted. Most suffered untold hardships and came to grisly, uncelebrated ends to traumatic lives - a sad end, just like in the film.