Moulin Rouge windmill sails fall onto street below famous Paris cabaret club

The sails of the landmark red windmill atop the Moulin Rouge, the most celebrated cabaret club in Paris, fell to the ground overnight in the early hours of Thursday, much to the sorrow of tourists.

“The Moulin Rouge, in 135 years of history, has experienced many adventures but it is true that for the wings, this is the first time that this has happened,” general manager Jean-Victor Clerico told reporters.

“A little before 2 am, the wings of the windmill gave way, fell on the boulevard and fortunately at this time the boulevard was empty of passers-by. We are relieved this morning especially to know that there were no injuries.”

A spokesperson for the Moulin Rouge said the theatre would investigate the cause of the incident with experts and insurers. Clerico said whatever the cause it was not intentional.

The Moulin Rouge, founded in 1889, became a global symbol of end-of-the-century Parisian culture, its famed can-can dancers widely depicted in paintings by avant-garde artists of the era such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat. Nowadays the audience is largely made up of tourist groups.

“I hope they will build it up again so it will be as it always has been, the old Moulin Rouge,” Danish tourist Lise Thygesen said.

German tourist Florence Chevalier said: “It’s weird to me, [the Moulin Rouge], it’s Paris. It’s like the Eiffel Tower, it’s Paris. It’s weird, you can’t say it any other way.”

And it wasn’t just tourists that came to see what happened.

“I heard it on the radio. As I live next door, I wanted to come and see with my own eyes what it was like and it’s very sad,” local resident Laurence Plu said. “It’s not the Moulin anymore, it lost his wings, it lost his soul.”


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