Going to the theater in Paris is a special occasion not to be missed. Not only will you see a great show, but you will also experience it in a spectacular setting. The City of Light is home to over a hundred theaters! Here is a selection to help you narrow down your choice…
France’s oldest theater troupe, the Comédie Française, was founded in 1680, and their stage today is the Salle Richelieu at Palais Royal. Many of France’s finest actors perform here at some point in their career, and you can see them put on classic plays by Molière and Racine.
One of the city’s most beautiful landmarks is the Palais Garnier. Named for its architect, the opera house was commissioned by Napoleon III and opened in 1875. The opulent façade is decorated with bronze busts of composers and sculptures of Greek gods. The ceiling, painted by Marc Chagall in 1964, adds a modern touch to the ornate decor. In fact, the Palais Garnier serves as the setting of the novel The Phantom of the Opera.
Not far from the Palais Garnier is the Opéra Comique, founded in 1714 under the reign of Louis XIV. In the lovely Salle Favart, you can discover the genre of opéra comique, a blend of spoken drama and singing.
The modern Opéra Bastille opened its doors on July 14, 1989, to mark the bicentennial of the storming of the Bastille at the start of the French revolution. The enormous glass structure, built by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, has over 3,000 seats and offers a variety of operas, ballets and plays.
Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
The stunning Art Deco Théâtre des Champs-Elysées is where Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring debuted in 1913. The avant-garde music and choreography caused a scandal when it premiered, but the ballet was considered a musical masterpiece.
Théâtre de la Ville & Théâtre du Chatelet
On the Place du Châtelet in the city center, you will find two nineteenth-century theaters. The Théâtre de la Ville, once owned by actress Sarah Bernhardt, sits across from the Théâtre du Chatelet, where the Césars the national film awards of France, are held.
Don’t forget to check out smaller theaters as well. Many theaters around the metro station Grands Boulevards feature comedic one-man shows, sometimes in English, as well as musicals and plays.
Eager to see more of Paris and its beautiful monuments? Check out the Paris Day Bike Tour!