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Paris’s Moulin Rouge gets new sails in time for Olympics

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Paris’s Moulin Rouge gets new sails in time for Olympics
Workers install one of the four temporary windmill sails on the top of Paris's Moulin Rouge cabaret. (Photo by OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT / AFP)

Paris’s Moulin Rouge cabaret club, whose landmark windmill sails fell down in April, received new blades on Monday, 10 days before the Paris Olympic torch is due to pass the venue.

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One of the most visited tourist attractions in the French capital, Moulin Rouge plans to install the four new temporary sails for a special ceremony on July 5th.

The red aluminium and steel blades arrived by lorry early on Monday at the club, located in the touristy Pigalle district.

The first blade or sail was attached with the aid of a crane under the gaze of curious locals.

Over the next four days, the three other sails will be winched up onto the terrace before being bolted into place and the electric cables linked up.

READ ALSO 5 things to know about Paris' iconic Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge officials said it would take four days to remove the tarpaulin and scaffolding that has enveloped the windmill since the night of April 25.

The first three letters on the cabaret’s facade – M, O and U – also fell off. No-one was injured in the incident.

“Our little Moulin Rouge is back! We’re so happy,” exclaimed Raymonde Rogojarski, looking at the windmill on the way to take her eight-year-old daughter to school on Monday morning.

“It’s very moving to see the sails back so soon,” added Rogojarski.

She said she lived ‘just round the corner’ from the club, which has put on risque nightime entertainment since it opened in 1889 and been immortalised by French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Mathieu Feltz, another local, got off his bike to take a picture of the first blade being bolted into place.

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“I was stunned when the sails fell off,” he told AFP. “This morning, I came past here on the way to work. It’s interesting to see how they put the blade back up.”

The sails are only provisional and will not rotate but they enable the landmark to look the part in time for the Paris Olympics.

“The Olympic torch is due to pass the Moulin Rouge on July 15th, so it’s very important for us to be ready by then,” said Virginie Clerico, the Moulin Rouge brand manager.

In late April, the management confirmed the incident was not a ‘malicious act’.

The birthplace of the can-can and the location for Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge, the club has remained open to the public since April 25.

For the ceremony on July 5th to celebrate the arrival of the new sails, the venue has promised an outdoor ‘sound and light show, with a score of performers dancing the French can-can’ on the street.

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