Paris

The performing arts scene in Paris runs the gamut from highbrow to lowbrow, cheap (or even free) to break-the-bank expensive. Venues are indoors and outdoors, opulent or spartan, and dress codes vary accordingly. Regardless of the performance you choose, it's probably unlike anything you've seen before. Parisians have an audacious sense of artistic adventure and a stunning eye for scene and staging. An added bonus in this city of classic beauty is that many of the venues themselves—from the opulent interiors of the Opéra Garnier and the Opéra Royal de Versailles to the Art Deco splendor of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées—are a feast for the eyes.

One thing that sets Paris apart in the arts world is the active participation of the Ministry of Culture, which sponsors numerous concert halls and theaters, like the Comédie Française, that tend to present less commercial, though artistically captivating, productions. Other venues with broader appeal are known for sold-out shows and decade-long runs.

Most performances are in French, although you can find English theater productions. English-language movies are often presented undubbed, with subtitles. Of course, you don't need to speak the language to enjoy opera, classical music, dance, or the circus.

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  • 1. Théâtre Équestre Zingaro

    Ready for a variation on the circus theme? If you're lucky enough to be visiting during the two months Zingaro performs at home (usually in...Read More

  • 2. Cinéma des Cinéastes

    Montmartre

    Catch previews of feature films, as well as documentaries, shorts, children's movies, and rarely shown flicks at Cinéma des Cinéastes. Near the Montmartre neighborhood, it's...Read More

  • 3. Les Folies Gruss

    Western Paris

    Formerly the Cirque National Alexis Gruss, Les Folies Gruss remains true to the Cirque à l'Ancienne philosophy, featuring a traditional circus with showy horseback riders,...Read More

  • 4. Théâtre du Palais-Royal

    Louvre

    Located in the former residence of Cardinal Richelieu, this plush, 716-seat, Italian-style theater is bedecked in gold and purple. It specializes in lighter fare, like...Read More

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