Iconic windmill sails of Paris’ Moulin Rouge collapse to the ground: ‘It has lost its soul’

The iconic windmill sails at the cabaret club Moulin Rouge in France fell from the historic structure overnight Wednesday before 2 a.m., according to a statement from the venue’s general manager Jean-Victor Clerico. “In 135 years of history, the Moulin Rouge has experienced many adventures, but it is true that for the wings, this is the first time that this has happened,” Clerico said. He added that “A little before 2 a.m., the wings of the windmill gave way, fell on the boulevard and fortunately at this time the boulevard was empty of passersby. We are relieved this morning, especially to know that there were no injuries.” Resident Laurence Plu told Reuters “It’s not the Moulin anymore, it lost his wings, it lost his soul.” The Moulin Rouge was founded in 1889, and its famous can-can dancers have been depicted in paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who also frequented the place in its early days. It was also depicted in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman of the same name. Clerico said the club will investigate what caused the sails to fall but said it didn’t appear to be intentional. Danish tourist Lise Thygesen told Reuters she hoped the sails would be restored, so it would remain the “old Moulin Rouge” and German tourist Florence Chevalier said that the windmill symbolized Paris for him. The incident comes almost exactly five years after a 2019 fire destroyed Notre-Dame cathedral’s wooden spire, wooden roof and damaged its walls. Restoration work is still underway. A blaze occurred in February. Reuters contributed to this report.