In Paris, an Unexpected Sight at the Moulin Rouge

Blades of famous windmill collapse overnight
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2024 7:12 AM CDT
Famous Moulin Rouge Windmill Blades Collapse
The debris from the windmill is seen Thursday, April 25, 2024 in Paris.   (AP Photo/Oleg Cetinic)

A bad omen ahead of the Paris Olympics? The blades on the windmill on top of the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret collapsed early Thursday morning, leaving debris in the street but not causing injuries, the BBC reports. The first three letters of the Moulin Rouge sign also fell off. "Moulin Rouge" means "Red Mill" but the sign now reads "Lin Rouge," meaning "Red Linen." The cause of the collapse is unclear, though it is believed to be a mechanical problem. "Every week, the cabaret's technical teams check the windmill mechanism and did not note any problems," a source tells AFP.

There hasn't been a similar problem with the windmill since the venue first opened its doors in October 1889, a few months after the Eiffel Tower opened, though the entire building was ravaged by fire in 1915 and rebuilt in 1921. A spokeswoman for the venue tells the New York Times that the blades will be restored "very quickly." Moulin Rouge director Jean-Victor Clerico told TV station TF1 that the collapse happened around 2am, more than an hour after the last show finished, the Washington Post reports.

Clerico said the cabaret will open as usual Thursday night. "The show continues, that's the most important thing," he said. The Moulin Rouge, where the can-can dance was invented, has long been one of the city's top tourist attractions. Parisians said it was disturbing to see it without the famous red blades. "Paris without its windmill is like Paris without its Eiffel Tower," Andre Duval, a former head waiter at the venue, told Le Parisien. (More Paris stories.)

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