Like any great world capital, ParLike any great world capital, Paris has many classical music venues of all sizes, where concerts are performed throughout the year, as well as world-class festivals.
Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris
221 avenue Jean-Jaurès, 19th
M° Porte de Pantin
This major music complex in the Parc de la Villette houses the Philharmonie de Paris (building by Jean Nouvel, 2015) and Cité de la Musique (building by Christian de Pontzamparc, 1995). The Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and the Orchestre National d’Ile de France both reside here. Each year there are 500 concerts in classical, baroque or contemporary, world, jazz, pop, and rock music, as well as exhibitions, and workshops in all styles of music. The Music Museum has over 8000 musical instruments and features a history of Western music from the 17th century to today and an overview of the main musical cultures of the world.
252, rue du faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th
Tel 01 42 56 13 13
The Salle Pleyel is an Art Deco classical concert hall built in 1927 with the support of the historic Pleyel piano manufacturers. After a massive renovation in 2016, this concert hall is now dedicated to contemporary music of all styles (including classical music) with 2000 seats.
Théâtre du Châtelet (Théatre Musical de Paris)
1 Place du Châtelet, 1st
Tel 01 40 28 28 40
The Théâtre du Châtelet, built in 1862 and completely restored in 2019, is making a new name for itself the place to see world renowned musical theatre productions (An American in Paris debuted here). They also have a good selection of dance productions, classical concerts and vocal recitals. Don’t miss their affordable “brown bag” lunch concerts (ie bring your own lunch, enjoy the music).
Free Concerts in Parisian Churches
It’s always worth a peek into the lesser-known churches and cathedrals of Paris if passing by, since you may catch the organist or church choir in rehearsal. There are regularly scheduled free organ recitals at the Notre-Dame Cathedral every Sunday at 4:30pm and at the Eglise St-Sulpice (Place St-Sulpice, 6th) on Sundays at 10:30am mass and recital at noon. Bell-ringing concerts take place at the Eglise St-Germain-l’Auxerrois (Place du Louvre, 1st) on Wednesdays from 2-3pm. Up-and-coming young musicians give classical, baroque and gospel concerts at the Eglise St-Merri (78 Rue St-Martin, 4th M° Rambuteau) every Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 4pm, September through July. Read more in the article “Free Classical Concerts in Paris”
Classical Concerts in Religious Monuments
Spend an enchanting evening listening to classical music in some of the most beautiful churches, chapels and cathedrals in Paris such as Sainte-Chapelle, Eglise St-Julien-le-Pauvre, and Eglise de la Madeleine. Look for posters throughout town or check out the schedule at www.ampconcerts.com (you can reserve seats and pay for them on arrival). Ticket prices from €23-30. Tickets can also be purchased in advance through FNAC ticket offices.
Classical Music Festivals
There are so many musical festivals in Paris that they tend to overlap each other! Some are free and informal open-air concerts held in various garden kiosks or small churches, others are internationally renowned and feature top names, so tickets need to be purchased far in advance. Check the entertainment listings for the latest concerts. Here are just a few of the more popular festivals:
Fête de la Musique : The longest day of the year – June 21 — is celebrated throughout France with an all-night musical festival in the streets, bars, concert halls, and parks. Schedules can be found at the tourism office, town halls and in most weekly entertainment guides and newspapers about a week in advance, or just be spontaneous and follow your ears around the city.
Festival Musique en l’Ile: This annual church music festival takes place each summer (June through September) in the churches of St-Louis-en-L’Ile (Ile-St-Louis, 4th) and St-Germain-des-Pres (6th). There are guest ensembles and choirs from around the world playing both early and baroque sacred masterpieces and music from different religious traditions such as Gospel or Gregorian chant.
Paris Quartier d’Eté: For two weeks every summer, the gardens, squares and parks of Paris host a wide range of international music concerts, dance, and theatre productions.
Les Musicales de Bagatelle: A music festival featuring the best up-and-coming classical musicians in a joyful atmosphere in the romantic, green and floral setting of the Bagatelle Park in the Bois de Boulogne. Festival tickets are just €10
Festival Classique au Vert: Free classical music concerts at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes) every weekend at 4pm in August. Check their website for the full schedule. Entry to the park is €3 (€1.50 for students 7-26).