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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Ateliers Berthier

The outlying atelier for the more illustrious Théâtre de l'Odéon is in the 17e, a bit off the beaten path; the upside is that on Sunday...

Café de la Gare

This spot offers a fun opportunity to experience a particularly Parisian form of entertainment, the café-théâtre —part satire,...

Casino de Paris

Once a favorite of the immortal Serge Gainsbourg, Casino de Paris has a horseshoe balcony, a cramped but cozy music-hall feel, and performances...

Centre National de la Danse

Occupying a former administrative center in the suburb of Pantin, this space is dedicated to supporting professional dancers by offering...

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...

Cirque National Alexis Gruss

Founded in 1854, Cirque National Alexis Gruss remains true to the Cirque à l'Ancienne philosophy, serving up a traditional circus...

Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione

Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione brings together two famous circus institutions: the beautiful Cirque d'Hiver hall, constructed in 1852, and...

Comédie Française

Founded in 1680, Comédie Française is the most hallowed institution in French theater. It specializes in splendid classical French...

Comédie des Champs-Élysées

Next door to the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, the Comédie des Champs-Élysées offers intriguing productions in its small theater.

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