- 11, Jul 2018
- Parisian theatre
- Amanda Mehtala
Your one-stop guide to a perfectly Parisian evening! There’s far more to Parisian nightlife than touristy cabarets and electro nightclubs. Why not plan an evening with the locals and discover one of the hundreds of gorgeous and historic venues in the City of Lights, and see a show of course. While Paris may not get the same reputation as London’s West End or the Broadway of NYC, a night at the theatre is very much a Parisian tradition, and you’ll see the locals lined up every night at the week to catch a show. From the quaint neighborhood theatre to the ornate grandiose playhouse, dinner and a show is a perfect way to discover this lesser-known side of Paris. Don't speak French? No problem, as each of these venues features shows with live English subtitles, or entirely in English! What’s more? Many of the theatres and playhouses all over Paris have their own unique bars and restaurants, just what you need to complete your ideal night out in Paris. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best establishments in Paris, along with the perfect place for drinks or dinner before or after the show.
1. Théâtre Édouard VII & the Café Guitry: the Home of Parisian Comedy
We’d be remiss is we didn’t talk about our favorite dinner and a show combo in Paris right from the start! A gorgeous theatre hidden in a pedestrian courtyard lined with terraces, and complete with its own swanky restaurant and bar! The Theatre Edouard VII, along with its Café Guitry (named after director-in-residence Sacha Guitry), is simply perfect for a night out with friends and family or a romantic evening. All the walls of the restaurant are covered with photographs of all the famous faces that have crossed through the theatre’s doors and the shows that have played on the stage, from Orson Welles to Gerard Depardieu! A fitting venue for dinner and a hit show all year round, during the summer months you can enjoy the outdoor terrace and in the winter cosy up in the swanky wood-paneled downstairs bar. The playhouse has some incredible history (explore more Edouard VII Theatre history), and with it’s hidden-in-plain-sight location and renowned restaurant, it’s the perfect Parisian dinner and a show combination. Still craving something sweet after the show, head around the corner, passing by the Opera Garnier lit up for the evening, and treat yourself to a decadent dessert at the famous Café de la Paix.French Girl in Seattle loves the shows in this locale, and recommends doing just that!
2. Drinks, dinner, and a show at the Théâtre Montparnasse, in one of Paris' most vibrant disctricts
The vibrant Montparnasse district is stock full of food and drink options, but to make matters even easier the Théâtre Montparnasse has its very own restaurant and bar called Le Foyer directly onsite! This venue is in the heart of one of the busiest neighborhoods in Paris, but despite this it is perfectly located on a small street lined with restaurants and theatres! The upstairs restaurant offers an unbeatable panoramic view of this quaint little Parisian street, and can serve up pre-show drinks or a full meal. The Foyer restaurant partners with a local business owner to provide not only some French classics, but also authentic Indian cuisine for a truly unique experience. The architect that designed the Théâtre Montparnasse back in the late 1800s was part of the team responsible for creating New York's famous Statue of Liberty, a venue you simply cannot miss. Learn more about some hidden treasures in our Montparnasse neighborhood guide.
3. A picnic in the gardens, and an original French musical at the Lucernaire
What’s more Parisian than sharing a picnic in one of the most beautiful parks, before heading over to the Lucernaire to see an intimate musical about the life of a French singer, ohlala! The Théâtre Lucernaire is in the heart of Paris, just steps form the Luxembourg Gardens, perfect for a stroll or snack before seeing one of their subtitled French musicals. Believe it or not, this more modern venue dedicated to urban art in all forms was constructed out of an old blow torch factory, and in addition to subtitled theatrical productions they also have art exhibits, concerts, you name it! From French classics to contemporary artists, you never know what you'll find on stage at the Lucernaire, currently featuring shows about French singers Edith Piafand Yves Montand. Not warm enough to check out the gardens? No worries, the Lucernaire also has its very own bar to complete your perfectly Parisian evening. Discover more Paris Latin Quarter secrets in our Latin Quarter neighborhood guide!
4. Grab a drink at the ornate Théâtre Ranelagh before seeing a Classic French performance
Imagine a sharing a drink in a classified historic monument, amidst ornate oak paneling and a grand piano, all before settling into the plush velvet seats of the Théâtre Ranelagh for a classic French production! This venue is rather unassuming from the exterior, but don’t let this fool you as the inside is sure to please and is packed with history. What would you expect from a venue that once belonged to a chateau, and welcoming some of France’s greatest figures, like Rousseau and Voltaire? (explore more Ranelagh Theatre history) Head over to the Théâtre Ranelagh before the show to enjoy a drink or a snack by the ornate fireplace at the theatre’s downstairs bar. Want to continue the soirée, or looking for something more substantial to fill your stomachs after the performance? Head down the street to one of Paris’ hit new restaurants, RadioEat at the Maison de la Radio.
5. Cheers at the quaint Théâtre BO St-Martin before the funniest one-woman show in town
The Théâtre BO Saint Martin, steps away from the République area in Paris, is a modern gem created by 2 television professionals who wanted to start their own live show. After opening to other performers, the theatre is now the place to discover new comedians in the Parisian theatre scene. Decked out with all the latest stage tech, the intimate setting will have you laughing away before brushing shoulders with the comedian at the onsite bar. It's here that the born-and-raised Parisian Julie Collas holds her hit show every weekend, the only one-woman-show in Paris 100% in English, Oh my God, She's Parisian. Looking for something more substantial than a quick drink with the comedians? Cross the République Square and head towards the Canal St Martin to try out any of the delicious restaurants located here, with such a diverse neighborhood you can find a snack from anywhere in the world! Our nearby favorites? Some Spanish-style tapas at Jamon Jamon, Italian hit Ober Mamma, or some American-style BBQ at The Beast. Feeling a little adventurous? There's a cocktail bar hiding in a laundromat right around the corner from the Theatre BO Saint Martin, think you can find the Lavomatic?
6. Want more comedy? Spend an hour at the Théâtre des Nouveautés and learn how to become Parisian
Like the idea of a bit of comedy for your Parisian night out? Dinner and a hilarious show in the heart of the Paris theatre district should do the trick! From its start, the Théâtre des Nouveautés has been known for its light comedies, and has kept this tradition ongoing for nearly two centuries, despite having to change its location a few times. Located two steps away from the Musée Grévin, the theatre was recently renovated and now welcomes its guests with its plush velvet seats and Belle Epoque decoration. What's showing here? You may have heard mention of a certain Olivier Giraud and his acclaimed one-man-show in English, How to Become Parisian in One Hour. You can opt to grab a drink right at the theatre, and hope to get a chance to meet Monsieur Giraud for yourself. We also recommend one of Paris' most historic brasseries right around the corner for a simple French meal to fill empty stomachs after a night of laughing, the legendary Bouillon Chartier. This no-fuss venue serves up a good homemade meal in a convivial environment; they don’t take reservations, but the wait typically goes quite fast. Here, the ornate dining hall has welcomed many famous faces in its 100 year history. For a laugh and a good meal in Paris, there's really no better combination!
7. Champagne and a hit Broadway style show calls for the Théâtre Mogador
You're in for an amazing evening at this grandiose venue. With a long history of hosting some incredible names in music (Mistinguette performed here many times!), the Théâtre Mogador has proudly held Broadway-style musicals since the late 1970s, featuring Cats, Grease, Sister Act, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables...the list goes on. As one of the larger theatres in Paris, the Théâtre Mogador was recently renovated after a recent fire forced them to temporarily close their doors right before the opening performance of Phantom of the Opera! After a quick facelift it's back and better than ever, bringing celebrated musicals to the Parisian stage, with a French twist of course. For a perfectly Parisian evening, a glass of champagne before a subtitled performance at the Mogador is a must. Located right between the busy Saint Lazare train station and the shopping heaven Galleries Lafayette, there's no lack of dining options here. Join the locals who often gather at Le Certa after work for a drink, or head to the nearby bistrot Le Marquis for a classic French meal and friendly smile.
8. A mystical musical evening with The Virtuoses brothers at the Théâtre Fontaine
Abandoned by its owners due to its black market activities during the early 1900s, the building where Théâtre Fontaine now stands once was a famous, high-class cabaret called Le Chantilly. Bought in 1951 by two audacious and uniquely dynamic accomplices, the rundown space was transformed into a theatre and has been pleasing Parisian audiences ever since. What's on stage right now? The hit show that just won't stop, Les Virtuoses is a victim of its own success and simply keeps getting prolonged and more and more people flock to see the one-of-a-kind performance for themselves. Unfortunately, you won't be able to stay for a meal at the theatre itself, but we of course have some wonderful nearby recommendations. In the trendy south Pigalle area, there's no shortage of young new restaurants frequented by the locals. An upscale Mexican tacos restaurant in the heart of Paris? You'll have to check out Luz Verde. For an Italian treat from our favorite restaurant group, head to Pink Mamma (the same Big Mamma Group everyone's talking about). And of course, for a French treat you'll have to visit the Bouillon Pigalle, one of the newest hit restaurants in the city you simply cannot miss.
So there you have it, 8 amazing alternatives for a dinner and a show in Paris, now all that's left is to start planning your Parisian night out! With so many gorgeous theatres, each with their own unique history, there's always something new to discover. And who knew there were so many options to see a show in Paris even if your French isn't quite perfect?!