Given its reputation as a city of art and culture, it’s no surprise that Paris is home to numerous classical music venues. From opera houses, concert halls and conservatories to churches, museums, parks and bandstands, the choice is vast and music is everywhere! In fact, it’s not unusual to stumble across an improvised concert on a street corner, a square or in a subway station.
Of all the city’s emblematic venues, Radio France and the Philharmonie de Paris stand out for both their programming and their architecture. They also offer a rich and varied experience around music, including guided tours, exhibitions, works of art and restaurants.
We take a closer look at these 2 monuments of classical music.
A fixture on the Parisian music scene for more than 50 years, Radio France is listed as a Monument historique heritage site. While its architecture is in the classic style of the 1960s, its design has been adapted over the years to incorporate new developments in acoustics.
The best way to understand this sprawling site is to visit it before your show. From studios to large concert halls, the Maison de la Radio can be visited through different guided tours with themes ranging from its history to its architecture and sound.
During the visit, you’ll come across various works of art. It was the vision of architect Henry Bernard to include art in this place dedicated to music. In the main hall, look out for the work “Portiques ou l’écho de la forêt ” by artist François Stahly and, in studio 101, “La Musique”, a fresco by Roger Bezombes.
Before your concert, take the time to sample one of the original cocktails at Le Belair, the Radio France bar. While you sip your drink, you may be able to catch a live music session or a live radio show.
Finally, to prolong the experience, head to the Radioeat restaurant for dinner with a breath-taking view of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower.
Concerts at Radio France:
Les tableaux d’une exposition 27 February
Fahrenheit 451 2 March
Chostakovitch, Yuri Temirkanov 7 March
Philharmonie de Paris
With its outstanding acoustics, innovative building designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, and excellent international programming, the Philharmonie de Paris is one of the city’s must-visit concert halls. It was inaugurated in 2015 as the final part of the Cité de la Musique, which also includes a museum, a media library and numerous teaching areas. This music-focused complex has become a unique cultural fixture on the Paris scene.
Start with a visit of the Cité de la Musique, next to the Philharmonie. It’s been home to the Musée national de la musique (National Music Museum) for more than 20 years. You’ll take a tour through the ages, discovering a collection of more than 7,000 instruments and works of art from all over the world. The permanent collection can be visited at your own pace and free of charge.
The museum also organizes temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Until 28 April 2019, you can catch the exhibition “Doisneau and music”, which looks back on half a century of music in Paris through the eyes of French photographer Robert Doisneau.
To get even more from your visit, join one of the many workshops offered by the Cité de la musique for a fun insight into a musical genre or an instrument.
Finally, on weekends, discover the Philharmonie’s Thematic Weekends, a series of budget-priced concerts and activities designed around a theme, a musical genre, an instrument or a musician. A fascinating way to experience music like never before!
Concert at the Philharmonie de Paris:
Envoûtements – Orchestre de Paris 27 & 28 February