If you’re on time constraints and want to have that ‘cultural experience’ that will make your travels memorable, you want to make sure that what you get is entertaining, authentic and value for money right? The Moulin Rouge and the Spanish Flamenco are two popular shows in two culturally interesting countries. But if you’ve got to make your money last what experience is worth investing in?
A visit to the Moulin Rouge appears on just about any tour itinerary for Paris. It’s an iconic show with a lot of hype and a lot of people tightly packed into the venue. But is it worth it? Afterall some things are worth being uncomfortale for 2 hours for, particularly if you are about to witness a much anticipated cultural spectacle.
My first thought when the show started was “oh…they’re lip syncing”. I went in not knowing exactly what the fuss was about, but curious about the fuss and with no particular expectations. It was all new to me. But once I realised the singing wasn’t real I felt a bit disappointed. There were other aspects of the show that were entertaining. There was plenty of singing, dancing, comedy, and even a guest apperance by a snake. However, the most memorable part of the show for me was when it finished and we all went to the bar next door.
Now the Moulin Rouge wasn’t for me. The overall show was okay but I honestly would have been happy with just taking a photo in front of the windmill outside.
During my time in Barcelona one of the activites available to me was to attend a Spanish Flamenco evening. Again, I had no idea what to expect as this too was a new experience for me. But it was safe to say I was blown away by the performance and would reccommend it to anyone visiting Barcelona.
The performance was put on by El De Tablao Carmen and, in my opinion, was infintely more entertaining than the Moulin Rouge. The flamenco took place in an intimate setting, with tables close together but in a venue half the size of the Moulin Rogue. The venue was a good size and could fit a decent amount of people in without feeling cramped and overcrowded. It was small enough that from wherever you sat you could actually see the expression on the faces of the dancers and musicians. The dancers danced so passionately, the signers sung so soulfully, and I was in awe of the guitarists whose hands moved so fast to play such beautiful music. There was real passion in their performance. I was in fact so captivated that I left feeling lighter and filled with joy after witnessing genuinely talented people doing what they so clearly enjoyed to do. Although the lightness I was feeling could also be attributed to the Sangria but thats besides the point! I loved the flamenco so much it instantly became one of the highlights of visiting Spain.
Now if you’ve read this far its probably pretty clear which performance I enjoyed the most. But that is my personal preference. I am always in favour of a more intimate performance with live music then a big, extravagant show. When it comes to value for money I feel that the Spanish Flamenco stands out given that I could not take my eyes off the stage and that I left feeling that I have truly appreciated a part of Spanish culture. Besides, you can see shows like the Moulin Rogue in any large city, really. So if you had to choose only one..I’d reccommend the Spanish Flamenco.
What are your thoughts? Have you seen eithr one of these shows? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!