The Moulin Rouge achieved international infamy decades before Nicole Kidman sashayed across the stage in Baz Luhrmann’s film of the same name. I’d seen the Moulin Rouge, but didn’t realise that the Lido was a similar cabaret in Paris until my uncle made the joke that I could work there with one of his friends, to fund my dream of living in Paris.
As I’ve written before, the Moulin Rouge left me underwhelmed. When I returned to Paris six months later with a friend, I was torn. The Moulin Rouge is one of Paris’ most famous spectacles but I didn’t think it lived up to the hype. Plus, it was expensive. Fresh out of university and without a job to return to, I couldn’t bring myself to spend 90 euros on the show again.
Luckily, there is a fabulous alternative.
Rather than dwelling in the pits of Paris’ red light district, the Lido sits proudly on the Champs-Elysee. The Champs-Elysee might be less and less French by the day, but the Lido is one of the few French icons remaining. It was much nicer walking to a show along the Champs-Elysee at night (or running through pouring rain, as it happened) than it was to walk through one of the seediest parts of Paris.
The performance at The Lido outshone the Moulin Rouge. The dancers were more in time with one another and the costumes were more dazzling. Both shows have impressive sets, but the Lido’s blew me away.
A giant Aztec-style temple popped out of the stage, adorned with dancers. Doors opened and platforms slid out with even more dancers, all dressed like goddesses. It disappeared and later an ice rink emerged so that a gorgeous couple could wow the crowds on the ice. It disappeared too, to later reveal several narrow pools which contained fountains that shot graceful arks of water over the dancers.
It was spectacular.
The basic show price is the same as the Moulin Rouge. If you had to choose one, choose the Lido. It was truly spectacular and I would happily pay 90 euros to watch it all over again.
It sounds like a steep price, but it is an unforgettable experience which is a part of Paris’ cultural heritage. Unforgettable experiences are why I travel and it was worth every cent.
Have you been to The Lido? Or any other must-see shows on your travels?
Love Paris? Check out more of my posts about my favourite city here.