6 Best Performing Arts Venues in Side Trips from Paris, France

Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles

Fodor's choice

One of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe was built for 14-year-old Marie-Antoinette on the occasion of her marriage to Louis XVI, and entering this extravagantly gilded performance hall from the hewn-stone passageway can literally take your breath away. But the beauty is not just skin-deep—the intimate 700-seat venue is blessed with rich acoustics. Home to the Royal Opera, it hosts a world-class roster of orchestral and chamber concerts, as well as modern dance and ballet performances. For arts lovers, this spot alone will justify the quick trip from Paris.

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Académie Equestre de Versailles

On most weekends (and on certain weekdays during school holidays), you can watch 28 elegant white horses and their expert riders perform balletic feats to music in a dazzling hour-long show directed by the great equine choreographer Bartabas. Located opposite the palace, the structure was built for Louis XIV's royal cavalry.

Av. Rockefeller, Versailles, Île-de-France, 78000, France
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Rate Includes: Shows €28, includes stables visit

Centre de Musique Baroque

An accomplished dancer, Louis XIV was also a great music lover who bankrolled the finest musicians and composers of the day—Lully, Charpentier, Rameau, Marais. So it's only fitting that France's foremost institute for the study and performance of French Baroque music should be based at Versailles. An excellent program of concerts is presented in the château's Opéra Royal and chapel; the latter are free of charge.

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Fête des Loges

A giant fair and carnival is held in the Forest of St-Germain from late June to mid-August. Fans of cotton candy, roller coasters, and Ferris wheels turn up in droves every year.

Mois Molière

In June, Mois Molière (Molière Month) heralds a program of concerts, dramatic productions, and exhibits inspired by the famous playwright.

Théâtre Montansier

The calendar here features a full program of plays in French, music, dance, and children's entertainment.