Theatres in Paris
With more than 100 theatres in Paris, this city boasts a long history and tradition about theatre. According to the tradition, everyone can enjoy and afford a show thanks to the theatre National de Chaillot, which is considered the first popular theatre. There are exhibitions not only in theatres but also in the so called cafè-theatres where young talents start their careers in a one-man-show, usually a comedy or a satire.
You can enjoy a show even in public parks where theater companies set their stage, but those shows are usually for children. In fact there are many theatres for children like the Théâtre de Guignol aux Champs-Elysées, one of the oldest puppet theatre, or like the Abricadabra, a special theatre on a boat.
There are five theatres subsidized by the Ministry of culture (national theatre) and almost all of the theatres offer lower fares for students, or people under 25, for people over 60-65 and for groups.
OPERA DE PARIS
This is one of the most important theatres and is divided in two buildings: Opera Garnier and Opera Bastille. The Opera Garnier was built in 1669 by Napoleon III and it has a sophisticated style, almost eclectic, which has been defined by the architect Charles Gariner “Napoleonic”.
The Opera Bastille was built in 1989 because President Mitterrand realised that the Garnier one was too small to satisfy all the reservations. The Opera was inaugurated July 13, 1989 to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.
The name suggests which show you can watch in this theatre. This is the perfect place to go if you want to enjoy an old but always classic show from the European tradition with authors like Shakespeare, Pirandello and, the most played by this company, Moliere. The theatre has its own company of actors and their motto is “Simul et singulis” (be together and be themselves).
One of the five national theatre, La Colline is located in the east city and it has two auditoriums, the Grand Theatre (750 seats) and the Little Theatre (200 seats). This theatre gives much space to the international company with which it has many co-productions, so many shows are presented in the original language with subtitles.
THEATRE DU CHATELET
One of the most famous theatres, thanks to the Cesar award that takes place every year in this theatre, it was built in 1862 and it was commissioned by Baron Haussmann. The building is very elegant, with an eclectic style. In the Theatre du Chatelet take place mainly concerts of classical and symphonic music, but also Operas.
THEATRE DE LA VILLE
Opened in the 1860, this theatre is located in front of the Theatre du Chatalet and is symbol of contemporaneity with dance, theater, world music, and chamber music shows. Though it has one-thousand seats, Theatre de la ville has been enlarged in 1996 with the Théâtre des Abbesses with four-hundred seats.
LES BOUFFES DU NORD
This theatre has not the same amount of shows like the others in Paris, but is very famous because of its history. In fact, it was built in 1876 and since the beginning had an erratic existence and no fortune, so in 1914 it was closed and after that it became the house of many theater companies that could not afford the costs of maintenance needed until 1974, when Peter Brook could open it again.
THEATRE DU ROND POINT
This theatre totally splits off from the tradition, it is in fact the centre of experimentation of the new comedy. The theatre was born in 1981 in the Panorama which is a circular building that lately became the so-called Palais des Glaces (Ice Palace), one of the most popular attractions of the Belle Epoque.
LE POINT VIRGULE
This small theatre is the most important for the up-coming comedian since 1975, when it was built. In fact, it is the landmark of the new French comedy as testifies the annual comedy festival in September that takes place here. Le point virgule is a clear example of the so-called cafe-theatre.
Originally built in 1782 to host the companies of the Comedie Francaise and the Theatre Francaise, it became independent afterwards. The building resembles Palladio’s works and is sober and austere.
The Odéon is chosen as a meeting point of international works, being an example of traditional and modern shows and of French and international ones.
THEATRE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES
This theatre has three halls: the Grand Théâtre with its Italian style is the symbol of the symphonic music with two orchestras; the Comédie des Champs-Élysées with drama shows; the Studio des Champs-Élysées, a former art gallery that became the set of d’essai shows. In 1994 the theatre had a super-elevation to a restaurant.
THEATRE NATIONAL DE CHAILLOT
The Théâtre national de Chaillot was built between 1934 and 1937 by the brothers Jean and Édouard Niermans and it is located very close to the Eiffel tower. This has always been the symbol of the popular theatre and its philosophy can be seen in the Jean Vilar’s sentence (actor and director in this theatre) “the theater must become a necessary public service like water, gas and electricity”.
Born as Folies Trevise in 1869, this music-hall became very famous during the Belle Epoque and it still is thanks to the famous Manet’s homonymous painting. Set of many variety shows the theater hosted political meetings and debates. Still in use today, it offers both bars and live shows.