Best French Music Venues – Part 2
The second edition of our investigation into the best music venues of France again focuses on Paris and the very best buildings and venues that are home to all types of French and international music. Some of these venues have now become legendary across the world, and helped French artists showcase their work to the world.
The Small Castle (Theatre du Chatelet)
This most famous of establishments date back to 1876, and the Theatre du Chatelet has been entertaining theater goers by the river Seine for a century and a quarter. Formerly it was well known for its ballet productions especially by the famous producer Jean Cocteau, it was even rumored that Picasso designed the theater sets. One of its most famous ever productions was Around the World in Eighty Days that played for just under two thousand and two hundred performances over sixty-five years. Since 1976 the Small Castle has been home to the Cesar Awards which has grown in notoriety since its inception.
The Zenith was built in 1984 to replace a tent-style affair that had a widely growing popularity. French singers Renaud and Trenet were the people responsible for elevating The Zenith to its current position. The venue now is home to all manner of entertainers from musical farces to one-man exposes, plus of course many rock and pop concerts. The highlight of The Zenith annual calendar is a concert by Les Enfoires which is a charity event that brings together artists, singers and actors to raise money for Les Restos du Coeur charity.
One of the great Parisienne rock venues, Le Bataclan did not start life as a rockers paradise. The famous German cellist, Jacques Offenbach was inspirational during the Romantic period and he composed an operetta named Bataclan from which this old venue took its name. It was originally a type of cafe that featured music, but over the decades rock music took the Bataclan as its own and that is its primary music genre today. In 2015 the Bataclan hit the headlines for very different reasons but credit to French spirit and defiance the act of terrorism only closed the venue for twelve months, and the Bataclan once more hosts excellent rock music.
Casino de Paris
The history of the Casino de Paris can be traced back right to the days of King Louis XIV when the Duke of Richelieu wanted to create an entertainment venue that the citizens of Paris could enjoy. Thus, the Folie Richelieu was created that was the forerunner of the Tivoli Gardens. Changing its location again it became the venue for the Paris Carnival and in 1891 the Casino de Paris was born and has been home to operas, ballets, musicals and concerts ever since.
The Casino de Paris completes our journey of discovery to some of the monumental venues of entertainment in France. These bastions of music, dance and acting have been at the forefront of creating this art form in Paris. Many famous French and international acts have started glittering careers playing to Parisienne audiences at these glamorous and historical venues and long may they continue to offer such diverse and enlightening entertainment.