Time to fess up : Sam is not a theater person. In fact, her motto is keep the plays on the page, which perfectly sums up how she feels about the art form beautiful, important and fulfilling when read and very dicey when seen live. This dogma does not preclude all productions: she freely admits to having been deeply moved at certain theater productions. This is rare, however.
That said, if you do like theater, Paris has a lot to offer. From the high-end fare at the Comédie Française to the broad, populist Boulevard productions, there are plenty to satisfy those for whom, “the play’s the thing.”
La Comédie Française is considered the pinnacle of the French theater. Located in the 1st arrondissement, this state-run theater has roots that stretch back to Molière. Founded by Louis XIV in 1680, the theater has 3 main outposts: the Salle Richelieu at Palais Royal, the Vieux Colombier, and the smaller Studio-Théâtre. The company has over 3,000 plays in its repertoire. If you’re a fan of classic theater, the Comédie Française is worth checking out.
The Théâtre de l’Odeon is another storied, state-run theater that serves up a wide range of fare: from classics to the avant garde, plus the theater also occasionally hosts comics for one-man shows.
A few other classics:
- Théâtre du Rond Point
- Théâtre de Chatelet — Shows mostly musical theater and dance-based productions.
- Théâtre du Mogador — Also for musical theater productions.
“Théâtre du Boulevard”
This is a long-standing form of French theater. Originating in the boulevards of Paris in the 18th century, this type of melodrama and farce is still alive and well in the city. If slamming doors, sex jokes and physical gags are your thing, then boulevard is for you. The scene is very developed Paris, as can be witnessed by the dozens of flamboyant posters and billboards in the metro for zany comedies. Here are a few (of the many) places where you can take in these wacky plays.