Paris Performing Arts

The performing arts scene in Paris runs the gamut from highbrow to lowbrow, cheap (or free) to break-the-bank expensive. Venues are indoors and outdoors, opulent or spartan, and dress codes vary accordingly. Regardless of the performance you choose, it's probably unlike anything you've seen before. Parisians have an audacious sense of artistic adventure and a stunning eye for scene and staging.

An added bonus in this city of classic beauty is that many of the venues themselves—from the opulent interiors of the Opéra Garnier and the Opéra Royal de Versailles to the Art Deco splendor of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées—are a feast for the eyes.

One thing that sets Paris apart in the arts world is the active participation of the Ministry of Culture, which sponsors numerous concert halls and theaters, like the Comédie Française, that tend to present less commercial, though artistically captivating, productions. Other venues with broader appeal are known for sold-out shows and decade-long runs.

Most performances are in French, although you can find English theater productions. English-language movies are often presented undubbed, with subtitles. Of course, you don't need to speak the language to enjoy opera, classical music, dance, or the circus.

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Paris Performing Arts

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Cinéma des Cinéastes

Catch previews of feature films, as well as documentaries, shorts, children's movies, and rarely shown flicks at Cinéma des Cinéastes.

Cinémathèque Française

This is a mecca for cinephiles brought up on Federico Fellini, Igmar Bergman, and Alain Resnais. Its spectacular home—in the former...

La Géode

It's hard to miss La Géode—a steel globe with a 118-foot diameter in Parc de La Villette. The theater screens wide-angle Omnimax films—including...

La Pagode

Where else but Paris would you find movies shown in an antique pagoda? A Far Eastern fantasy, La Pagode was built in 1896 as a ballroom...

Le Balzac

Le Balzac often presents directors' talks before film screenings and features live music for silent classics. Every Saturday night, in...

Le Desperado

You can watch version originale American classics and cult films for €8 on Le Desperado's two screens. ...

Le Forum des Images

The Forum organizes thematic viewings in five state-of-the-art screening rooms, often presenting discussions with directors or film experts...

Le Louxor

First opened in 1921, Le Louxor reopened in 2013 following a lavish restoration that returned it to its original Egyptian-themed splendor.

MK2 Bibliothèque

This slick, 20- salle cineplex in the shadow of Mitterrand's National Library has trademark scarlet-red chairs—they fit two people...

Parc de La Villette

In July and August, Parc de La Villette shows free open-air movies. Most people pack a picnic; you can also rent deck chairs and blankets...


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