You already know Paris as the fashion capital of the world, home to delicious croissants, the Eiffel Tower and of course the Louvre. But did you know that the French capital also has over 140 theaters, concert halls, and other show venues? Every night of the week you’ll find major productions, musicals, traditional cabaret and more. The City of Light could also be called the City of Shows.
In this article, you’ll find our recommendations for the best show venues and for which shows you should definitely go see in Paris this 2020!
Féerie at the Moulin Rouge for the best cabaret
Behind the curtains of the Moulin Rouge
Chances are you’ve already heard of the Moulin Rouge, but do you really know its history? The famous establishment opened its doors in 1889 with an audacious bet to become the biggest and most elegant cabaret of its time. Almost 130 years later, the Moulin Rouge has indeed become the incarnation of French cabaret and the famous Cancan dance. Numerous artists, including Toulouse-Lautrec, have immortalized the famous windmill and Moulin Rouge show in their paintings. Millions of spectators have been mesmerized by the one-of-a-kind show full of feathers, rhinestones, legendary dancers and costumes.
Moulin Rouge Practical info
Féerie at the Moulin Rouge
Address: 82 Boulevard Clichy, 75018
Metro access: Blanche (Line 2)
Show times: 2 shows 7 nights a week: 9pm show & 11pm show
Ticket Prices: start at as low as 77€ and go up to as much as 420€ for the VIP experience
|INSIDR Tip: The Moulin Rouge is located in one of Paris’ most lively districts, at the foot of Montmartre. To continue (or start off!) your evening, head to rue Frochet.|
Where to watch the Opera in Paris
Paris Opera Garnier
The Opera Garnier has been a source of mystery, enchantment and inspiration since it was constructed in the 19th century. Commissioned by Napoleon III, it’s one of the most distinguished opera houses in the world. The sumptuous building has inspired dozens of works of fiction, artists and painters. The famous house now hosts mostly ballets but also classical music concerts, operas and other events. Ticket prices vary, but they start as low as 22€. Discounts are available for students and groups. You’ll definitely need to book ahead as shows almost always sell out.
Address: Place de l’Opéra, 75009
Metro access: Opéra (Line 7 / 8 / 9)
Paris Opera Bastille
The Opera Bastille, also known as Opera de Paris, is the city’s main opera hall. The modern construction was inaugurated in 1989. The 2,700-seat space mainly hosts operas and philharmonic concerts. Despite its huge capacity, every seat at the Opera Bastille offers an unrestricted view of the stage. Additionally, the building was designed specifically to produce the perfect acoustics for opera and classical music. We highly recommend booking tickets ahead of time as shows often sell out.
Address: Place de la Bastille, 75012
Metro access: Bastille (Line 1 / 5)
Enjoy live theatre in Paris
The most famous Parisian theaters
Some of Paris’s theatres have played a central role in history. Starting with the Theatre Edouard VII. Fancy frequenting the same theater as the King? The English King Edouard VII strongly supported the arts and this theater was built in his honor. Another famous theatre is the Comédie Français, it is one of the oldest theaters in the world. Founded in 1680, it still hosts shows today! You should also see the the interior of the Theatre des Champs Elysées it is as sumptuous as the avenue it’s named after. Finally, the Theatre de Chaillot, it is just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower it is one of the largest halls in Paris.
Local Theaters Parisians love
In addition to the big name theaters, Paris is home to numerous hidden gems. One of our favorites is the Theatre de l’Odeon. They only have shows in French so it’s a great option if you want to practice your language skills or have a truly immersive Parisian experience. You can also opt for a drink in their lovely café, which will also give you a taste of the theater experience. The same goes for the Theatre du Rond-Point. Not only do they have a great selection of shows but you can go for drinks at their incredible bar!
Musical Shows to catch in Paris in 2020
The Lion King at Theatre Mogador
When: from September 19, 2020 – July 18, 2021
Address: 25 Rue de Mogador, 75009
Metro access: Trinité – d’Estienne d’Orves (Line 12)
Click here to reserve your tickets the the Lion King Musical
Most famous concert venues in Paris
Philarmonie de Paris for classical music
The Paris Philharmonic is the prestigious newcomer on the Parisian music scene. The modern venue opened in 2015 to much excitement. Designed by renowned French architects Jean Nouvel and Christian Portzamparc, the Philharmonic houses three full-sized concert halls as well as a music museum, exhibition area, and rehearsal spaces. The varied program features rock, jazz, rock, world, experimental music and classical music, of course. Ticket prices vary depending on the show. The Philharmonic also has an onsite bar as well as a rooftop restaurant. It is located in the 19th arrondissement, so you will have an amazing panoramic view of Paris.
Philharmonie de Paris
Address: 221 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019
Metro access: Porte de Pantin (Line 5)
Arenas in Paris for giant concerts
The French capital now counts three huge concert arenas. The U Arena is the city’s newest arena, completed in 2018. It’s Europe’s biggest concert hall, it has a seating capacity of 40,000! There is also the mythical Stade de France located just north of Paris. Additionally, the AccorHotels Arena in the 12th arrondissement hosts concerts and sporting events alike.
Address: 8 Rue des Sorins, 92000 Nanterre
Metro access: La Défense (Line 1)
Stade de France
Address: 93200 Saint-Denis
Metro access: Saint-Denis Porte de Paris (Line 13) or La Plaine – Stade de France (RER B)
Address: 8 Boulevard de Bercy, 75012
Metro access: Bercy (Line 6 / 14)
If you’re interested in Paris’ night scene, you’ll love our Paris Night Guide which will show you our curated list of show venues, clubs, bars, late night restaurants and more.
Historic show venues in Paris for smaller shows
For the coolest venues, popular with the younger and older crowds alike, look no further. L’Olympia is located just a few blocks from the Opera Garnier in the 9th arrondissement. It’s particularly popular with rappers, hip-hop artists and indie groups. Head north to the 18th arrondissement to find Le Trianon and L’Élysée Montmartre. The Élysée Montmartre was built in 1607 and unfortunately burned down in 2011. However, the mythic concert hall was entirely rebuilt and opened its doors once again in 2016. La Cigale, is also located in the 18th and Café de la Danse host some of the coolest up-and-coming groups.
Best comedy shows in Paris
Comedy theaters in Paris
Despite their reputation for being serious and not smiling very often, Parisians love to laugh and the city has a vibrant comedy scene. The metro is constantly covered with advertisements for the most popular “le one-man show”, which actually means stand-up comedy in French. The Grands Boulevards neighborhood is the epicenter of Parisian comedic life. Some of the most famous comedy theaters include the Théâtre du Splendid, the Théâtre de la Porte Saint Martin and the Théâtre des Variétés. What we particularly love about these theaters is that pros and amateurs alike grace their stages.
English comedy in Paris
If you’re worried that all of these hilarious comedy shows are only available in French, the INSIDR team has great news for you! Paris also has a dynamic English-speaking comedy scene. One of the most popular, and most well-known, shows in English is Olivier Giraud’s “How to become a Parisian in One Hour”. Not only is it absolutely hilarious, but also contains precious advice to understand the mysterious breed that is the Parisian. We also love Julia Collas’ “Oh My God she is a Parisian”. The Englishwoman provides a comedic look into all of the stressful, intricate and fun details of living in Paris.
Best Contemporary dance shows in Paris
While most contemporary dance performances take place at Opera Garnier, there are other venues all over the city. The Theatre National de Chaillot is one of the most prestigious addresses in Paris. Its Grand Foyer overlooks the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars. The Theatre de La Ville and the Grande Halle de la Villette are two of our other favorite contemporary dance halls.
Visit their websites to see what shows are available during your time in Paris. We highly recommend booking tickets ahead of time as they sell out surprisingly fast!