Tucked away in the heart of the Opéra neighbourhood in Paris, the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet is a hidden gem, offering modern musical theatre in elegant Art Nouveau surroundings. Classed as a ‘monument historique’, the 549-seat theatre first opened in 1896, and is still considered as one of the standout examples of Rococo-style spaces in the capital.

Furthermore, it is a real haven of peace. From the moment guests step through the pristine façade, spectators travel through time. A majestic bar sits beneath a floor-to-ceiling Art Nouveau window; while the theatre itself is clad in sumptuous gold and red velvet. A renovation in 2016 has kept the space modern, without losing any of its historic character. The audience is cocooned in luxury before the show even starts. But it is with the show that the space truly comes alive. Each performance builds on the unparalleled artistic heritage of the theatre’s namesake, Louis Jouvet, who was director from 1934 to 1951.

Athénée Théâtre, Majestically modern musical theatre - Discover Southern Europe

The new show in town is the emphatically-named YES! – described as “an operetta in three acts; halfway between opera and musical theatre”. Nine singers, two pianos and three musicians under the Les Brigands company tell a flamboyant story of class struggle, jealousy and love, set in roaring ‘20s Paris. “It’s a light, joyful, musical experience!” explains the Athénée’s director, Patrice Martinet.

But for all its history, a night here is far from old-fashioned; the theatre works hard to remain attractive to all, including special rates for students, those aged 30 or under  and large groups, as well as ensuring access for those with disabilities. “We also have a more original and cheekier programme than many other theatres.”

Athénée Théâtre, Majestically modern musical theatre - Discover Southern Europe

Guests are also welcome to linger. The opulent bar is open before and after each show, with a menu focusing on organic wine from smaller producers, served with seasonal bar snacks. Over the holiday season, guests are invited to pair Champagne with oysters.

In the New Year, the theatre is determined to throw its doors open even more, and build on its illustrious past to an ever-changing future. “We want to get even more involved in theatre and modern music,” explains Martinet. “That is our ambition for 2020 and beyond.”

Athénée Théâtre, Majestically modern musical theatre - Discover Southern Europe

Photo: Historic opulence mixed with cheeky modernity.

Group visits to the theatre are available upon request by emailing alexandra.maurice@athenee-theatre.com

YES! by Les Brigands theatre company, written by Maurice Yvain, adapted from a book by Pierre Soulaine, René Pujol and Jacques Bousquet, with lyrics by Albert Willemetz, is booking seats from 19 December 2019 to 16 January 2020. Tickets are available to buy online, from €10 to €48 each.

Web: www.athenee-theatre.com
Facebook: @theatreathenee
Twitter: @theatreathenee
Instagram: @theatre.athenee

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