What do we take from a memorable night at at concert? The ambiance? Souvenirs? Photos?
The truth is that, just as with a theatre, a concert hall venue plays a particularly important part in the heady mix that makes a night out at a concert a great night out at a concert.
For anyone thinking of checking out some venues in Paris, here is a short list of some of the most dearly-loved venues for concerts in the City of Light.
1. La Cigale
Built during the Belle Époque years back in 1887, this listed building has seen numerous artists from every era since come to clear their throats here. Max Linder – one of France’s first global film stars of the silent era – was one of them. The Cigale (the word means Cicada) played many roles over the 133 years of its lifespan, including that of cabaret hall, music hall and a cinema specialising in Kung-fu and erotic films. In 1987, it finally had its first major makeover and a concert by legendary 80s band Rita Mitsouko. Since then, the 1,000-seater venue has been in regular use thanks to always attracting high quality and richly varied acts. It has intimacy, atmosphere and excellent acoustics wrapped up in a grand theatrical style.
La Cigale, 120, Boulevard de Rochechouart – 75018 Paris
Telephone : 0033 1 49 25 89 99 Métro : Pigalle
- 2. L’Olympia
It is probably its mixture of size and intimacy (2,000 seat capacity) that makes the Olympia such a well-loved venue by artists and concert-goers alike. All the greats have played here. It is strongly associated with the legendary Jacques Brel, but has also accommodated French greats including Georges Brassens, Édith Piaf and Barbara, as well as both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. It’s still rocking and rolling today with an atmosphere that’s hard to match in some of the super-venues like the Zenith or Bercy.
L’Olympia, 28, Boulevard des Capucines, 75009 Paris
Telephone : 0033 8 92 68 33 68 Métro : Opéra, Madeleine
- 3. Le Trianon
Housed in another building dating from the Belle Époque era (1894) and slightly younger than the Cigalle, the Trianon is possibly the most beautiful concert hall in Paris. Despite its limited capacity of just 1,000, the ambiance and architecture are seductive and its past is laden with historical reference. In its heyday, it was closely associated with actress/singer Mistinguett (who was the highest-paid female performer in the world at one time). It was destroyed by fire, before being rebuilt and used as a music hall venue and then a cinema. It is said that Jacques Brel wrote some of his songs here during its cinematic phase. In the 1990s, it moved into its current role as a concert venue. If you do get a chance to visit, check out the wonderful bar to the right of the stage and watch out for the flooring rock concerts – the decking tends to move with the pulsating crowd, sometimes inducing sea-sickness!
Le Trianon, 80, Boulevard de Rochechouart, 75018 Paris
Telephone : 0033 1 44 92 78 00 Métro : Anvers
- 4. Le Bataclan
Named after the operetta “Ba-ta-clan” by Jacques Offenbach, it was built in 1864 and has been a listed building since 1991. Originally, it was a café/concert venue built in a Chinese style, complete with a pagoda roof. After a number of phases of existence, its façade was restored (but not its roof) and it established itself as a rock concert and one-man-show venue. The huge café is still there (though now it’s no longer part of the auditorium) and it’s this, along with the eclectic programme and its architecture, that makes it an unmissable highlight of the 11th arrondissement.
Le Bataclan, 50, Boulevard Voltaire, 75011 Paris
Telephone : 0033 1 43 14 00 30 Métro : Oberkampf
Other Concert Halls worth Checking Out…
L’Alhambra : Music Hall of mythical proportions, re-opened as new in 2008
Le New Morning : The Mecca of Jazz and Blues in Paris – very intimate 500-seater venue with incredible acoustics
Le Point Ephémère : An artistic pearl in the 10th arrondissement, this gem of a venue enjoys a great location on the banks of the Canal St Martin.
Le Nouveau Casino : Is it a night club or is it a concert venue? The answer is Oui!