As one of the top cities for culture and the arts, Paris offers rich pickings when it comes to classical music. Boasting exceptional concert venues, acclaimed festivals and fine music schools, Paris is a wonderful destination for classical music lovers. Listen out!
Classical music venues in Paris
Paris is well known for its theatres and cabarets, but fans of symphony orchestra concerts will be pleased to find the city also has a number of excellent places to enjoy orchestral performances. These venues are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and some of them are entirely devoted to classical music.
Housed in a magnificent building designed by the world-famous architect Jean Nouvel, the Philharmonie de Paris offers a 2,400-seat auditorium with outstanding acoustics. The venue quickly rose to the status of a landmark following its inauguration in January 2015, and now hosts performances by some of the world’s leading symphony orchestras. The Orchestre de Paris, the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Russian National Orchestra and the baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants have all performed here.
Another established Paris venue is the Maison de la Radio not far from the Eiffel Tower. With more than 1,400 seats, the auditorium here is shaped like an amphitheatre. Boasting excellent acoustics and an enormous organ, the venue hosts an eclectic programme of events appealing to a variety of audiences, ranging from studio recordings of TV shows to orchestra concerts.
Many other noted venues in Paris also host prestigious classical music concerts: the Salle Wagram, home to the Orchestre Colonne; the Louvre auditorium; the Salle Gaveau; the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille, not to mention churches such as the Église Saint-Ephrem, the Église de la Madeleine and Notre Dame Cathderal.
Orchestre de Paris
The Orchestre de Paris is one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, and France’s leading symphony orchestra. British conductor Daniel Harding is the current music director, having succeeded other great names such as Sir Georg Solti, Christoph Eschenbach and Paavo Järvi. The orchestra’s home is the Philharmonie de Paris, where it performs more than a hundred concerts every season.
Classical music events
Many events focusing exclusively on classical music are organized in Paris all year round. The Classique au Vertfestival, for example, has been held for the past 20 years in the Parc Floral on the outer edges of the Bois de Vincennes. Every weekend in August and September, this major classical music festival features performances by chamber orchestras, trios, quartets and quintets amid a 35-hectare expanse of greenery, with flowers in full bloom. For the past 34 years, the summertime Festival Chopin has featured performances of compositions for piano by the French master Frédéric Chopin at the Orangerie du Parc de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne, which also hosts the Solistes à Bagatelle festival in autumn every year.
There are a number of other classical music events in Paris, notably Kiosquorama, Marin Marais, Kiosques en fête, Les dimanches musicaux de la Madeleine, Festival Européen Jeunes Talents, Musiques de Chambre at the Orangerie de Bagatelle and Festival de l’Orangerie de Sceaux.