Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe

Finished in 1782, The Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe opened when the population of Paris reached its peak. The Theatre survived a blaze that could have put it out of commission were it not for the success of its remodeling. With names like Marie Antoinette, Jean Chalgrin, and Pierre Beaumarchais connected to the building, it is no wonder why the theatre is still in use today.

The Odeon-Theatre de l’Europe took was originally commissioned by the Comedie- France in 1769. However it was not until 10 years later that construction for the theatre was finally started in 1779. Located on the left bank, next to Luxembourg Garden in the 6th arrondissement, the nature of the building meant that patrons would need easy access to entering and arriving. In anticipation of the traffic that such a large building would surely bring, multiple routes of transportation were designed and placed in forms of vehicular and pedestrian methods. Sidewalks were built on the new rue de la Comedie that lead straight to the open plaza that lay before the new building. At the time, sidewalks were a feature mostly found on Pont Neuf, a bridge constructed under King Henry the III. However, with the completion of Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe this feature became more of a norm for the city. By the time that the theatre was finished the Comedie-France decided that they were not going to move into the building after all. They had already gotten comfortable at their swing location, Place Royal and thought it better to stay.

Charles de Wailly and Marie-Joseph Peyre were the original architects for the hall. Charles de Wailly was the one credited with creating and improving new designs and functions in the building. These new designs put more focus on not just the seating for the audience but the importance of said audience being able to clearly see what transpired on stage. On April 9th, 1782 the theatre was finally opened to the public by Marie Antoinette under the name, Théâtre-Français du faubourg Saint-Germain- This name lasted for seven years before the theatre was renamed to Théâtre de la Nation.

Being one of the most fitting theatres for audience satisfaction in Paris at the time, many people began to frequent the hall to see shows, but none was more accomplished than the “The Marriage of Figaro”. Just two years after the hall was completed on April 27th of 1784-this year marks the 235th anniversary, Theatre Francais served as the home for the play's opening night. The show was so popular that it beat the record for any other French play of the century and played for sixty-eight straight days.
By 1808 the Theatre Francais was redesigned by architect Jean Chalgrin. Chalgrin was best known for his work on the Arc de Triomphe, another structure that still stands today. After completion, the building was renamed the “Theatre de l’Imperatrice”, however by this time people had been calling it the Odeon and the name stuck for the hall among the locals. More destruction took place in 1818 when the building was damaged during a fire. Pierre Thomas Baraguay was hired to design and restore the building, one year later the theatre was once again reopened to the public in September 1819. The final facade that the hall retains today is the design that Baraguay completed, the buildings current capacity is maxed out at 800 people. In 1990 the theatre was given the subtitle of “Theatre de L’Europe” and became one of six national theatres of Europe. The theatre is still popular today and tickets can be purchased at their home website.

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Place de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris, France