A Complete Guide To The Paris Philharmonic (Philharmonie de Paris)

A New Temple for Music Lovers

The facade of the new Philharmonie de Paris, designed by Jean Nouvel.
••• The facade of the new Philharmonie de Paris, designed by Jean Nouvel, is ecologically inspired. C. Borel/Philharmonie de Paris

A prestigious newcomer to the Parisian music scene, the Philharmonie de Paris (Paris Philharmonic) opened in January 2015 amid much excitement. A decidedly modern venue dedicated to promoting the musical arts in an open and eclectic spirit, the Philharmonic houses three full-sized concert halls, a music museum, and exceptional architecture. The varied program of concerts and exhibits celebrates genres as diverse as classical, baroque, jazz, world music, rock, or experimental music.

 

Read related: Paris for Music Lovers (Best Venues and Events)

With buildings designed by contemporary French architects Jean Nouvel and  Christian Portzamparc, the Philharmonie replaces and expands upon the existing Cité de la musique, adding a fresh sense of dynamism and contemporary relevance to the area and marking it as a major spot for musical arts in the city of light.

Location and Contact Details:

The Philharmonie is located in Paris' northeastern 19th arrondissement, and is the latest addition to the sprawling modern arts, culture, and leisure complex known as "La Villette". The acres-large complex comprises botanical gardens and park, a science and industry museum called La Cite des Sciences, children's facilities, and much more. 

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  • Address: 221, avenue Jean-Jaurès, 19th arrondissement
  • Metro: Porte de Pantin (Line 5; direct from the Gare de l'Est station )

 

Nearby Sights and Attractions:

While tourists rarely venture into this northerly stretch of east Paris-- it's far away from the center and offers a relative lack of "big ticket" tourist attractions, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to explore this off-the-beaten-track area of Paris with some of the following sights and activities: 

Read related: Top Un-Touristy Parisian Neighborhoods to Explore

Opening Hours and Purchasing Tickets:

The main venue and the museum of music are open during the following times:

  • Tuesday to Friday: 12 pm to 6pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 6pm
  • Closed: Mondays; May 1st

To book tickets online and browse current and upcoming performances at the Philharmonie, visit this page at the official website. It's always a good idea to book well in advance when possible, especially since demand at this venue is currently very high.

The Buildings/Architecture:

The Philharmonie is comprised of two main buildings, including the existing Cité de la musique concert hall and space opened in 1995. The new structure, the brainchild of French architectural superstar Jean Nouvel, is referred to as the "Philharmonie I". It's an enormous, 52-meter-high, boulder-like structure that resembles a hill stretching out over the verdant Parc de la Villette. The angular, plane-like surfaces of the facade resemble geologically occurring structures; looking closely, a pattern resembling flocks of birds graces the building, reinforcing an ecological theme.

 

Visitors can enjoy panoramic views from the expansive rooftop of the Philharmonie I building. 

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The Exhibition Museum

The onsite exhibition museum at the Philharmonie boasts some 7,000 musical instruments and art objects, and displays around 1,000 of these at a time around specific themes and periods. Amid the treasures are the guitars of Georges Brassens and Fredric Chopin's pianos. Temporary exhibits pay tribute to figures as diverse as rock stars, composers, or visual artists who have inspired musicians. 

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Restaurants and Cafes at the Philharmonie 

This venue offers several options for enjoying a drink, snack, or full meal. There is a panoramic restaurant on the sixth floor of the "Philharmonie I" building, ideal for a formal lunch or dinner (opening on September 15th, 2015).

For snacks and coffee, the downstairs cafe in the same building is good for shorter breaks. Finally, a larger cafe-restaurant, the Cafe des Concerts, can be found beneath the portico of the main building, and boasts a pleasant terrace with seating outdoors.

Liked This? 

For music aficionados, Paris offers a variety of world-class venues. Whatever your tastes or budget, you'll find something for you. Read our complete guide to the boldly contemporary Opera Bastille, which hosts some of Europe's finest operatic performers. If you're a jazz or rock fan, meanwhile, read up on the best summer festivals in Paris for tons of ideas on catching performances in the warm open-air.