France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Philharmonie de Paris, France
A beautiful new concert hall has enhanced the Cité de la Musique in Paris.





Philharmonie I, the striking new concert hall in the Parc de la Villette, opened in January 2015. The Grande Salle Pierre Boulez is the site of most symphonic concerts. It seats 2400, but its design and the fact that there are seats all around the hall give it a much more intimate feel.

When we attended a performance I spent intermission wandering around the hall, taking in the perspective from the various seating areas. Although we haven't yet experienced sitting behind the orchestra, we hope to do that next time. All the views are dramatic and interesting, and some of the balconies appear to float over the stage.

Philharmonie de Paris
From our seats we had a great view of the full orchestra, as well as the seats behind and some of the floating balconies.

The Philharmonie is home to the Orchestre de Paris. The Paris Orchestra includes over 100 musicians and performs regularly at the Philharmonie.

The exterior of the Philharmonie buiding, with its sharp angles and silvery finish, is also dramatic and eye-catching. Etched into the surface are thousands of birds, heading off in different directions. Its irregular shape draws the eye to its variety of perspectives.

The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel. Nouvel has left his mark on Paris, also designing the Institut du Monde Arabe (1987) and the Quai Branly Museum (2006).

In addition to the concert hall, Philharmonie I also houses educational and rehearsal spaces, as well as a couple of restaurants. Lovely views are offered from the balconies and roof top.

Philharmonie II is now used to designate what I still think of as the Cité de la Musique. Located next to Philharmonie I, this older building houses the wonderful Musée de la Musique, with its large collection of musical instruments, and a variety of performance and educational spaces.

The Parc de la Villette is a nice area for strolling before or after a concert. You can easily walk to the Bassin de la Villette and walk along the water. Just across the Bassin is the Cité des Arts et de l'Industrie, the Museum of Science and Industry.

If you like classical music, be sure to check out the Philharmonie schedule and get tickets for a concert. The music is wonderful and the experience of being in the hall is very special. There's a wide range of ticket prices, and most concerts do sell out, so you'll want to plan in advance.

Also remember to leave time for getting there, as the Philharmonie is quite a distance from the center of Paris. It is, however, easily reached by public transportation. There are a number of restaurants in the area (this is Paris, after all!), including some in the Philharmonie and in the Cité de la Musique, and one in the Parc de la Villette, where we enjoyed a simple supper.

Métro: Line 5, Porte de Pantin
Tram: T3b, Porte de Pantin
Bus: 75 or 151 to Porte de Pantin

The Philharmonie offers free shuttle service to the center of Paris after concerts. Check at the concert hall for routes and where to find the shuttle.

Philharmonie de Paris
221 Avenue Jean Jaures
75019 Paris, France

What to See & Do in Paris

Paris Hotels and Apartments

Paris Night Life

Classical Music in Paris

Opera in Paris

Parks and Gardens

Paris Museums

Planning your time in Paris

Paris Transportation

About Paris



Philharmonie de Paris

Above, Approaching the striking Philharmonie de Paris building.

Below, A view of the hall and some of the seating options, waiting for the audience and orchestra to arrive.


Philharmonie de Paris

Philharmonie de Paris
Above, Artsy exterior shot, with nice view of Paris in the distance.


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