September 2, 2011

Ooh La La! Le Moulin Rouge!

by Matt Stevens

Paris, je t’aime! I’ve been a Francophile since studying French in high school and college, and in the fall of 2008, I realized a lifelong dream of visiting the City of Lights. My nine-day trip was beyond magnifique — the museums, the food, the fashion, the palpable joie de vivre!

With my passable French (I thought) and trusty travel guides, I easily navigated the gorgeous districts and hit as many tourist spots as possible. One magical day — and there were several — I beat the crowds to the top of the Eiffel Tower, which provided spectacular views on that clear, crisp November morning.

Off that (literal) high, I hopped the Metro to the bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre, home to such artists as Renoir, Monet, and Toulouse-Lautrec. But before I strolled the cobblestone streets to Van Gogh’s former residence or toured the stunning Sacré-Coeur Basilica, I made a special stop at the world-renowned Moulin Rouge cabaret, named for the red windmill on top of the building.

What a pleasure to see one of the most symbolic images of Paris! Immortalized by the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec, the Moulin Rouge has staged extravagant dance revues, famously featuring the “scandalous” cancan, since its doors opened in October 1889. The glitzy nightclub has appeared in numerous films, including Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical, and now receives a fantastique tribute from authentically costumed Moulin Rouge Barbie® Doll.

I won’t tell you how often the sights of Paris overwhelmed me with emotion, with their rich history of art and culture. But I will confess this startling realization: I’ve retained shockingly little of the language (though if the French ever need to know “the pen is on the table,” I’m your guy).

I’ve started attending a French-speaking club to improve my skills. Plus, I’m saving up my Euros. Because I can’t wait to say “Bonjour!” again to my favorite vacay destination.

Have a beloved memory of Paris? Please share it below!

Matt Stevens is a twice-published author and sold screenwriter who specializes in movies and pop culture. A former producer for E! Entertainment Television, he now writes about film for their website, E! Online, and contributes to numerous new-media outlets. Since his first games-writing gig for Barbie.com, Matt has been tickled pink to work on BarbieGirls.com and MyScene.com before joining the BC blogger team.

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