- November 1, 2017
- Parisian theatre
- Jessica Gilligan
Did you know, the Paris theatre district is just as thriving as its New York and London counterparts? Let's take a look at some of the best hidden Paris secrets...
The Olympia Music Hall, often frequented by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix and Edith Piaf, is not far down the boulevards from the Opera Garnier. Currently hosting variety shows with contemporary sounds, a visit to this historic theatre is not something to miss.
Rumour has it, Orson Welles ghost haunts the halls of this centre for Anglo-Saxon culture, the incredibly gorgeous Théâtre Edouard VII. Built in honor of “the most French” of all British kings, it continues its tradition of celebrating the Anglo-French friendship by partnering with Theatre in Paris - meaning all of the amazing comedies at this historic venue feature English subtitles! If you find yourself wandering around Edouard VII Square, be sure to find the art painted on the surrounding buildings.
In 1911 a New Yorker took apart his Manhattan bar only to exactly rebuild the entire bar in Paris on rue Daunou. Today, Harry's New York Bar still stands unchanged with a classic cozy decor and a menu of almost 300 whiskies, yum! There’s no other bar authentically American in Paris than this location that Hemingway, Sartre and Blondin frequented for specialty drinks.
If the scent of fresh bakeries opening every morning hasn’t satisfied your nose, head to Musée des Parfumeries Fragonard to really get your fill of scents. With one museum showcasing bottles by Lalique and Schiaparelli and the other displaying everything from Ancient Egyptian ointment flasks to Meissen porcelain scent bottles, you’ll leave with a happy nose.
Looking for a shortcut, shelter from rain, or petite boutiques to shop in? Discover the 10 or so glass roofed shopping galleries known as les passages couverts. These architectural gems dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries are hidden across the city. Visit the two passages in the 9th arrondissement, Passage Jouffroy and Passage Verdeau, through the entrance near Musée Grévin. Care to explore even more Parisian covered passageways?
Few people know that atop the world famous grand magasin, Galeries Lafayette, is a large rooftop patio anyone can visit. Ride the lift to the top floor, take a small set of stairs, and bam! An incredible view with Palais Garnier directly in front, Haussmann-style rooftops for miles and the Eiffel Tower off into the distance will have you snapping hundreds of photos.
Did we just travel back in time to historic Rome and Greece? Nope! This massive church, Eglise de la Madeleine, surrounded by huge, fluted Corinthian columns, certainly looking out of place and like it's straight out of your history book is Napoleon’s “Temple of Glory” dedicated to his Grand Army.
"If the Emperor is as solid on his throne as this statue is on its column, he's nowhere near descending the throne," one woman said in 1816 as a mob of men attached a cable to the neck of the statue of Napoleon atop the column in hopes to pull it down, but this sturdy statue refused to budge. This square is now the location of Hôtel Ritz Paris, but dates back to 1702 and has been the home to numerous famous fashion designer salons and notable people such as Frédéric Chopin & Coco Chanel.
Time for an afternoon pick-me-up or a sweet treat before moving on to your next adventure? Walk a bit down Boulevard Capucines to what looks like a completely normal Starbucks from the outside. Upon entering you'll discover one of the most elegant cafes in the entire city. Seated below the original chandeliers hanging from breathtaking ceilings, sipping espresso, you'll quickly forget that you're even in a Starbucks.
Craving another 360° view of Paris? Get your cameras ready to take Instagram-worthy photos of this breathtaking view. Ride the lift to the top floor, and take the escalator to the top floor of grand magasin, Printemps. From the rooftop terrace, the unobstructed view 360° of the entire city offers an unmatched view of the hill of Montmartre. Don't forget to walk to the other side of the terrace to get an incredible view the Eiffel Tower.
11. Musée Grévin
Wondering where you can see scenes from the history of France, from Charlemagne to Napoleon III, the French Revolution, and famous singers, movies stars and international figures all at once? Musée Grévin has about 450 wax figures on display, from Mahatma Gandhi to Jean-Paul Marat and Pope John Paul II, visiting this museum is a must-do in Paris.
12. Rex Club
Disco club during the 70s, rock house in the 80s, and now a temple of electronic and techno music, the Rex Club might just be the most popular night-club in Paris. Located under the famous cinema, Grand Rex, dancing to some of the biggest DJs from all over the world is a night out you'll be glad you experienced.
What once held buzzing brokers trading, trading, trading all over the centre of this building during the 19th century is no longer the lungs of all financial activities in France. Palais Brongniart, where the bourse, or stock exchange, once lived is now a major venue for events such as conferences, exhibits and receptions.
14. Collection 1900
Step back in time to when EVERYTHING was Art Nouveau in this exceptionally incredible recreated apartment of a courtesan of the Belle Époque. Exploring the 12 furnished rooms on the 3 floors above famed restaurant, Maxim's de Paris, you'll discover the best creations of the 1900s from all over the world from designers such as Tiffany and Toulouse-Lautrec.
So there you have it, 14 hidden wonders to explore in the heart of the Paris theatre district. Unlike other cities, Parisian theatres have cropped up all over the city, while the majority are concentrated in this central area around Grands Boulevards, you'll find even more playhouses around every corner, so keep exploring and start planning your Paris theatre night today!