The Lesson (La leçon)
Until December 31, 2023
23 Rue de la Huchette, 75005 Paris
Capacity 85 seats
Classic French play
For all audiences
In French (English surtitles on specific dates, see below)
Highlights: The Lesson (La leçon)
The Lesson (La leçon), a record-breaking play by Eugène Ionesco is the world's longest continually-performing show in a historic Parisian venue. A hilariously troubling commentary on a seemingly unremarkable exchange has been leaving audiences thinking for over 60 years! What was once a rather avant-garde new play, has now become a theatrical institution all on its own.
France may have changed, but this historic show surely hasn't. Since The Lesson (La leçon) began playing at the Théâtre de la Huchette, France has seen nine presidents and four oil crises, yet the show carries on with the same legendary decor, staging, and momentum. Join the over 2.5 million spectators who have seen this Ionesco play in the quaint little Théâtre Huchette.
See the show with English surtitles!
Performances of The Lesson are surtitled in English every Wednesday.
If your group has 10 or more people, the theatre can also offer surtitling on other days. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to offer you this service.
Story: The Lesson (La leçon)
A seemingly innocent exchange in which a shy older teacher meets an outspoken student. Yet the roles are about to change in this surprising face-off! As the lessons become increasingly difficult, the insolent young student loses confidence, all while the teacher seems to be gaining vitality. Will one come out a winner in the end?
A lesson in life full of absurdity that has been playing on the stage of the Théâtre de la Huchette for many, many years.
The Lesson (La leçon) is a show that will put a smile on your face as you think of your teachers!
The venue, the piece, and the actors' talent is ageless, truly a wonderful moment
The 3 actors immerse us completely in the story of the play, which remains entirely relevant having played without interruption since 1957 in this very theatre. Played wonderfully by the actors, they mastered the art
Théâtre de la Huchette
Théâtre de la Huchette
A creative rebirth
Ending four years of Nazi occupation in 1945; during which censorship, curfews, and alerts practically suffocated all theatrical creation; the liberation paved the way for a creative explosion. Small theatres such as the Vieux Colombier, the Noctambules, Theatre Babylone and more began opening all over Paris, particularly in the Latin Quarter. That's when a fated pair cross paths, Marcel Pinard, the aspiring actor working odd jobs, and Georges Vitaly, the exiled Russian playwright. Pinard convinces his girlfriend at the time to rent out the legendary location at 23 rue Huchette so the two can create a theatre together, Vitaly the brains and playwright in the endeavor, with Pinard providing the location and his acting talent. The pair proves successful, and through the early 1950s the stage welcomed some of France's upcoming actors, including Jacqueline Maillan, Claude Gensac, Monique Delaroche, Pierre Mondy, François Chaumette, Jacques Fabbri, Michel Roux, and more.
A world-record theatre
Eventually Vitaly wants to move his successful plays on to a bigger venue, and he heads to the Théâtre La Bruyère. Under the sole direction of Marcel Pinard, the Théâtre Huchette takes a new direction featuring contemporary theatre. Marcel permanently unites his two leading new shows, Cantatrice Chauve and La Leçon, to create a record-breaking combo. To this day, these two performances remain the longest-running shows continually playing in the same venue, a world record!
An iconic venue
In 1975, Marcel suffers a heart attack in the theatre's tiny ticket booth. Following his death, the troupe battles to save the venue from being shut down and transformed into a restaurant for tourists. They proved successful, and this quaint theatre in the very heart of historic Paris continues to be a place of creative celebration. The headlining shows have become an institution in their own right, and welcome a full house an entire half-century later. This one of the only venues in the world welcoming generation after generation of French and international audiences to see the unchanged pair of shows, which were rather avant-garde at the time of their arrival on stage, and are now beloved classics! A quaint playhouse born in the post-war wave of creativity, the Théâtre Huchette is Parisian must-see, an entirely unexpected find in the very heart of the Latin Quarter.
Such an iconic and historic location though is not without a rumoured past! Tales have been told that prior to the Vitaly-Marcel takeover, the location of the theatre was used by monks of the nearby Saint Séverin church to bury treasure, and a witch is also rumoured to have used the cellar as a meeting point to preach an emerging new religion!
Handicap Accessible? Yes
Air conditioning? No
How do I get to the Théâtre de la Huchette in the centre of Paris?
The Théâtre de la Huchette is accessible by: Metro lines: The Théâtre de la Huchette is accessible by taking line 4 to the stop Saint-Michel or line 10 to the stop Cluny - La Sorbonne. RER: The Théâtre de la Huchette is accessible by taking the RER C or B to the stop Saint-Michel - Notre-Dame. Bus lines: The Théâtre de la Huchette is accessible by taking the bus lines 21, 27, 38, 85, or 96 to the stop Saint-Michel. We invite you to consult the map above for directions. In case of difficulty, our hotline can be reached during our business hours. Please see the footer of this page for our contact details.
What do I do when I get to the Théâtre de la Huchette?
We invite you to arrive 15 minutes before the beginning of The Lesson, and present your voucher at the front desk. The theatre staff members will guide you to your seats.
Where will I be seated and will I see the surtitles properly?
In this intimate theatre, there is one general seating category available which ensures a comfortable view of the surtitles. At the Théâtre de la Huchette, seating is generally on a first-come, first-served basis, and Theatre in Paris guests are invited to arrive early to ensure they are able to select their desired seats.
How long does The Lesson last?
The Lesson lasts exactly one hour with no intermission.
Is The Lesson for an international audience or French speakers?
Thanks to English surtitles, both! The Lesson has been performed in French for over 60 years in Paris and on tour across Europe, enjoying endless success. The world-record show has become an international institution, a must-see while in Paris for both French and international visitors. With the English surtitles, forget about the language barrier and enjoy an amazing French night out.
The Lesson is surtitled in English every Wednesday but if you’re looking to see this show with English surtitles on a day when there are no surtitles planned, it is also possible to add surtitles on a date of your preference if you have a group of more than 10 people! Group requests must be made through contacting us at: email@example.com
Is tipping customary at Théâtre de la Huchette?
Tips are not mandatory in Parisian theatres. However, ushers will usually expect a small tip of between 2 euros and 5 euros, which you can give them when they’ve shown you to your seat. Fun fact: the French word for “tip” is “pourboire” which literally translates in “to have a drink”.
How far in advanced should I book my tickets for The Lesson?
Millions of audience members have already seen The Lesson, and it is always in high demand. We recommend booking tickets in advance rather than waiting as dates tend to fill up very quickly in this small intimate theatre!