Like many travellers before me, after seeing the movie Moulin Rouge, I decided to check out the place when I arrived in Paris.
I suppose due to my own ignorance, I did not know that it is located in the Red Light district, and since I was backpacking alone at that time, I went in search of it one evening.
As I walk along the street, I started noticing all these big "SEX" neon signs and was almost dragged into a sex cinema by two ticket sellers at two different locations on the street.
So, female travellers in particular should not venture there alone. Moulin Rouge is right at the end of the street, so you will practically need to walk the length of the streeet before you can reach it.
If you have to go see the Moulin Rouge go early as for the area it's in Pigalle.....it's a seedy and not very safe area.....tons of people gather around the Moulin Rouge hoping to scam you of your money.....either thru card games or bogus show invitations......The people looking to scam you work in teams of 2 and 3's so be careful......
As a young naive eighteen year old I was wandering down from Montmarte through the Pigalle area around sunset.
It came as something of a shock to the confronted in a narrow alley (notice I didn't say small back passage) by a six-foot-four bearded tranvestite in a sequined pink dress.
Although utterly harmless you might not be quite so lucky in this area of town after nightfall and off the main strip (odd how this area is called the main strip eh ?)
It seems to me that there is a inverse relationship between the relative prudery of a country and the level of 'vice' encountered in it's red-light districts.
In places such as Amsterdam, King's Cross in Sydney or the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, or parts of Tokyo and Nevada the business of titillation for profit almost seems respectable, yet in many other corners of the world such as London or St Petersburg you immediately put yourself in the hands of skilled operatives who will fleece you blind. Beware of the pretty thing who you order a drink for - it could the priciest drink you will ever buy !
Paris is the exception that proves the rule - outwardly the bright lights and shopfronts, not to mention the somewhat touristy Moulin Rouge building give an air of properly run and 'honest' businesses. Don't be decieved, many is the tale of men who have lost all the contents of their wallets and more in such 'entertainment venues'.
P.S explaining an entry on the credit card bill to wife / girlfriend like "Club titty, bonky bonk - Pigalle, Paris" is none to easy a feat.
It looks peaceful on the pic, probably because you can see the poster of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's brand new movie (after "Amelie"), but it's one end of one of the red districts in Paris...
Ca parait calme, comme ca, probablement parce que vous voyez l'affiche du dernier film de Jeunet, "Un long dimanche de fiancailles", mais on est bien à une extremite du 'quartier rouge' parisien...
Near the Moulin Rouge on Avenue de Clichy there are men who beg, plead and pull on your arm to come inside a “bar” and see a show. They say 10 euros for one beer. When you get inside a girl starts ordering drinks, and when you try to leave you'll be surrounded by 2 or 3 guys who will insist those drinks cost 80 euros each. They will not let you leave, nor call a cop. (this is basically strong-arm robbery.) They'll start yelling, and if you're alone boy are you in trouble. They take your money, then order you to hand over a credit card. I was only in there about 10 minutes, owed them $240 euros by their calculation, they took my money, swiped my card, said it was no good and when I got home I found $530 taken from my account.
It's probably best to avoid walking around Chatelet Les Halles and the Pigalle districts at night, as these are apparently the areas most frequented by prostitutes. The Boulevards de Clichy and de Rouchchouart, place Blanche and place Pigalle are described even by Rough Guide as 'sleazy'.
If you do fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, keep a tight hold on your wallet/bag, and try not to look to obviously like a tourist.
I walked around in Red Light area in Paris (Moulin Rouge). It is very dangerous. Some people were drunken and almost hit me. Many people standing in front the cafe/bar offered shows/girls. They pulled my hands and pushed inside. They said the drink was 10euros. But before I left, they asked for 800euros. Some big guys came and insisted me to pay and I can't call the police. The money in my wallet was taken and my credit card was robbed. 800euros (from my credit card) + 370euros (from my wallets) have gone! Be careful! It's dangerous place!
You will find several shops in the St Denis Street area with aggressive workers who will come out on the street to bring you in. they will have several posters of hot women and tell you for 30 euro you get a lar dance and a massage and sex if you want it. no additonal charges and you pick the girl.
when you pay they take you to another shop and have you wait in a room. the girl who comes in is much older and no where near the perfect girl in the pic. she will tell you a massage is an additonal 200 euro and sex, if you want it, is even more. she will tell you the 30 euro you paid already was just admission and to see her in her panties.
avoid these places at all costs. nothing but a clear rip off of tourists,
I have read that you shouldn't even walk places like Rue St. Dennis in Paris. Let me assure you this is rubbish. During the day it is just like any other street. During the night the sex shops are very visible and there is the occasional prostitute. I didn't feel frightened or the least bit threatened day or night. Obviously these type of streets in any city has the potential to be dodgy. Just keep an eye on who's around you and you'll be fine.
If you picked this tip just looking for more info on the Paris redlight secene then for you-
Boulevard du Clichy- (close to Sacra Coeur). This is where the big sex shops are and shows like Moulin Rouge. If you pause to look at something there's a good chance you'll get hassled from someone trying to persuade you to enter a club. Just ignore him and keep walking.
Pigalle- famous redlight street though I don't know why since I saw no red lights there.
Rue de Garde- Over by the Montpasse tower. Small sex shops like Rue St Dennis. In the news when Wayne Rooney did some stuff the papers didn't approve off.
Please remember that Paris isn't like Amsterdam or Antwerp or Hamburg etc. Prostitution is illegal and if you search for a girl you may well get ripped off or worse.
If you are planning to walk down the Boulevard de Clichy at night take a clothes-peg with you to put on your nose. When we walked there, after the Moulin Rouge show, there was absolutely no wind and it was a bit cold. You know what we smelled? You don´t want to know this probably... but..... it was sperm.... bleeeehhh
I was in Paris for business. I went to the Moulin Rouge for the show and then went to a strip club where the door man/solicitor offered me a "beer and free show" for 20 Euro. I said OK, why not, paid and went in. I was given a beer and guided to a table with only one exit to get away from the table without having your way blocked (first sign). For some reason there was nobody in this place even though it was right by Moulin Rouge. I finished my beer and the owner brought me a bill for $340 euro. I said 'I am not being scammed' and I said call the police or let me leave. I said this 3 times and then tried to walk past the guy and he pushed me. He then called over a bald bouncer and they were both blocking the little walkway. I said call the police then I started yelling call the police. FYI - I was asked 'where I was from' and 'are you alone' and answered them honestly - 'Not from Paris' and 'Yes'. I tried to leave one last time and the bouncer said you are going to pay fat boy. He started pushing me backwards telling me I was going to pay and phase 2 began - I slammed the bouncer up against the wall and head butted him and started asking him to fight me. I let him back up from the wall and shoved his head back into it and said come on B*. He was terrified. I can handle my own but I could see how a lot of tourists would get taken by this. Between my shock, fear and anger I started thinking about what to do next. The manager who pushed my earlier was backing up and said 'please leave'. I started yelling 'All you are cowards', the 'French are cowards' and was walking around trying to get someone to even look at me wrong. They have no self respect to begin with so my words probably did little damage but I felt good about it. I beat 4 guys at their game. The French are cowards and disgusting - they try to rob then back down like little girls when a real man challenges them. There is nothing tough about Paris but be prepared to fight - any US city is far more dangerous and tough but this type of stuff would never happen to you in the US.
I spent the rest of my night in my hotel room thinking that I should go back and finish business because the owner was walking around not bloodied up. I had to leave the next morning so didnt go back but I am planning a trip back to Paris and will do my best to prevent this from happening to another foreigner again. So - Signs to look for that things are bad for you when you walk in - 1. No people but workers. 2. Seated in a confined space. 3. Pressured to go in or participate.
To handle the situation for most people - 1. Shout Call the Police and stand your ground. Continue shouting as loud as you can until they let you go. Push them away, kick, scream, yell, etc. 2. If you can fight - fight but they are going to intimidate you and its not a 1 on 1 situation. I am 6'0 260lbs and one the bouncer was bloodied up a bit he backed down like a little girl and I was being asked kindly to leave. I should have ended the life of the owner of that place and would have had I truly been in Paris alone.
I was prey of similar scams, however for 5 Euro worth of beer they billed me for 110euro, However they tried to threaten me hard, but I said i will not pay this amount, which is not valid amount. They forcibly did not allow me to go out, Then I threaten them with police, even then these guys were not worried, Then I took out my phone and pretended calling some friends and other people to come to this place to take up matter legally. This time the lady owner got bit frightened and asked me to pay another 10Euro and leave. I left the place , came out and straight away went to nearby police station. I explained the story, But the couple of police officers and lady police officer showed their inability to help me, As they said you do not have prove and said this happens everyday , so we cannot do anything. I found these police officers are also involved in this gang scam on red light streets of paris. They will not help, even they do not have sympathy for tourists.
I clearly understand French economy in particular, where so many homeless and beggars hover the streets. I saw two white girls near eiffil tower picking up leftover icecream from garbage bin, which someone threw little before. Looks like so called historical glorious countries are getting worse than third world countries, I can imagine PARIS POLICE must be getting bribed by these bar owners, else such scams would not be possible.
my first experience to paris was worse and this country really sucks , as I saw beggars, loosers, unemployed youths, cheap girls looking for money and on top of that dull faces struggling with survival difficulties. Paris sucks.
( excuse me for my bad English)
Please be wary where walking around the back streets of 'Opera' at night, my husband and I found this to be a large red light district where some of the girls hassled me because they thought I was taking away their trade, not a pleasent experience, although my Husband found it hilarious.
Don't know if you'd exactly call this a danger, but you may not want to be in the area of rue St. Denis after dark. It's like St. Pauli in Hamburg.
I love the area in the daytime. It reminded me of the East Village in New York.
This is the arch near the metro entrance, at the end of rue St. Denis.