Built as a music hall in 1894, the Olympia was a cinema during the Occupation. In 1952, it was bought by Bruno Coquatrix and, on his death in 1979, it was taken over by his wife. George Brassens, Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker and Sydney Bechett all appeared here, and today it continues to put on the big names in entertainment. Naturally, tickets don't come cheap for this top class venue, whose new auditorium was opened in 1997. In February 2004, the Olympia celebrated its 50th birthday with a special programme of events, a souvenir book and a CD collection highlighting some of the great performances seen here.
If your French is excellent, this friendly and attractive theatre is a great spot for an evening of entertainment and laughter. Opened in early 2006, it scored an immediate hit with the play, Le Clan des divorcées.
Some legends rise, then fall, only to rise to more dazzling heights than ever: that's the story of the Palace. A music hall in 1923, it became a cinema in 1946, before briefly becoming a theatre between 1975 to 1978. Under Fabrice Esmaer, it was one of Paris' trendiest nightclubs, in its heyday attracting the likes of Kenzo, Karl Lagarfeld, Thierry Ardisson, Andy Warhol and even Mick Jagger.
When Esmaer died, the Palace slowly declined until squatters moved in in 1996. Finally, after more than a decade's closure and 18 months of refurbishment, the Vardar brothers took it over in 2007. Now, as in the 1930s, this mythical venue is a theatre once more. In 2008, actress Valérie Lemercier made her comeback, after a 6 years out of the limelight. The adventure continues.
The King of Music Halls
This prestigious theatre, with its Art Nouveau facade of mosaics and stained glass, enjoyed a dazzling success. Hardly surprising when you learn that Mistinguette made her debut here in 1893. Or that the first ever nude appearance in the history of music hall took place here, in 1919. In the theatre's golden era, all the great stars stepped out on the staircase of light during sumptuous revues. Stars included Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Zizi Jeanmaire and Line Renaud. Today, this celebrated theatre welcomes the great names of French singing and comedy.
The former Folie Richelieu is still the champion of popular shows. For more than a century, many big names have come through here : Belmondo, Hossein, Georges Wilson, Alain Delon et Romy Schneider... More recently, Bernard Tapie starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, directed by Christelle Durand.
The Petit Théâtre was a converted former costume workshop. In 1958, the doors opened on the new Théâtre Moderne, which can hold up to 300 people. In 1992, it changed its name to the Petit Théâtre de Paris, a venue dedicated to revealing up-and-coming young talent. At 15 rue Blanche, the stars of tomorrow - comedians, directors and writers - get their chance to shine.
The theatre is part of Théâtres Privés de Paris association. Reduced price tickets are available for the under-26s under as part of the "premiers aux premières" scheme