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. Folies Bergère

    Grands Boulevards

    Many an arts career was launched at this institution, where Josephine Baker charmed the city clad in nothing but a banana skirt and pearls, and...Read More

  • 2. Salle Cortot


    This acoustic jewel was built in 1929 by Auguste Perret, who promised to construct "a concert hall that sounds like a Stradivarius." You can buy...Read More

  • 3. Salle Gaveau


    The 1,020-seat Salle Gaveau is a perfectly appointed gold-and-white hall with remarkable acoustics and a distinctly Parisian allure. It hosts chamber music, orchestral, piano, and...Read More

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  • 4. IRCAM

    Louvre | Music

    IRCAM—the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music—organizes contemporary and classical music concerts, as well as dance and...Read More

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