Moulin Rouge windmill blades break off and fall into street

A spokesperson for the venue says no-one was hurt in the incident

Tom Watling
Thursday 25 April 2024 10:44 BST
Moulin Rouge windmill blades lie in street after falling off overnight

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The sails of the landmark red windmill atop the Moulin Rouge, the French capitalParis’ most famous cabaret club, has fallen to the ground.

Images on social media showed the blade unit lying on the street below, with some of the blades slightly bent from the apparent fall on Wednesday evening.

The incident also caused damage to the front of the cabaret, bringing down with it the first three letters of the illuminated sign, according to French outlet Le Monde.

“We don't know what happened, it occurred between 02:00 and 03:00 am, no one was hurt,” a venue spokesperson said, adding the night's last show had finished at 01:15 am.

The reason for the accident, which comes just months before the French capital hosts the Olympic Games, is not yet known. But it is the first time such an incident has happened. The venue has become an emblem for Paris.

“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.”

The broken sails of the landmark red windmill atop the Moulin Rouge, Paris' most famous cabaret club, are taken away
The broken sails of the landmark red windmill atop the Moulin Rouge, Paris' most famous cabaret club, are taken away (REUTERS)

Moulin Rouge is best known by many as the birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. The club was founded in 1889 and the audience for its dance shows is largely made up of tourist groups.

An official at the venue told AFP that the cabaret’s technical team checks the windmill mechanism every week and did not note any problems during the last inspection.

The only serious accident the landmark has endured was a fire that erupted during works in 1915, which forced the venue to close for nine years.

The accident will add to concerns of whether Paris is prepared to host the millions that will visit the capital during July and August for the Olympic Games.

Tourists and locals flocked to the venue to see the damage for themselves. 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.”

“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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