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History of Paradis Latin Theatre In Paris

It was back in 1802 that Napoleon Bonaparte decided to have a theatre built on the Rue des Fossés Saint-Victor, which was where a fortification wall originally stood in the 13th century and once built was inaugurated in 1803 under the name of the Theatre Latin.

This theatre became the in place to be in Paris for nightlife and was frequented by writers such as Honoré de Balzac, artists, politicians, merchants and aristocrats and the room in the basement became known as the Literary Watering Hole.  But unfortunately in 1870 a fire destroyed the Theatre Latin and its remains were left for over fifteen years.

Paradis Latin History

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History of Paradis Latin Theatre In Paris

But when Paris was getting ready for the World Fair in 1889, they decided that the ruins could no longer stay, as it was a complete eyesore right near to the Notre Dame Cathedral and Gustave Eiffel, who built the Eiffel Tower, was assigned the task of rebuilding a new theatre.  And in the January of 1889 the new theatre was inaugurated under its new name, the Paradis Latin, which is what it is still called today. 

The only cabaret that is situated on the left bank in Paris, it was an immediate hit and performed to sell out crowds with musicals and ballets, but probably the most important was the performance given by Yvette Guilbert who was a great performer at the Moulin Rouge.

Yet by the end of the century the Montmartre area of Paris had become far more fashionable and the Paradis Latin suffered from loss of trade and as a result it closed its doors in the 1930's. 

Jean Kriegel, who was a real estate developer, put in a bid for the building in 1973, so that he could restore it and turn it into apartments.

When he started to go through the building he found some incredible discoveries from when different people had used the building in the past and the first discovery was that of around 18,000 test tubes and petri dishes!

And as more of the building was stripped, such as the false ceilings, Gustave Eiffels incredible structure was revealed along with some of the original décor. And then, as more work continued the workers uncovered amazing columns and an incredible dome that was exquisitely painted to glorify pantomime, opera and ballet. 

It was through these incredible and fascinating discoveries that Jean Kriegel became enchanted and completely changed his mind, deciding to restore the building back to a theatre, and during the years of 1973 through to 1976, the theatre was restored according to Gustave Eiffel's original plans of 720 seats and a ceiling height of 17 meters, but with the latest state of the art equipment to be added.

The theatre's artistic creation, direction and production were entrusted to Jean-Marie Rivière and in the November of 1977 he presented the 'Paris Paradis' show, or Revue as it is known, which was a resounding success and marked the revival of the Paradis Latin.

After the success of 'Paris Paradis' there were further Revues that continued to be a resounding success but eventually in 1995 Jean Kriegel decided to give up the theatre and it was taken over by the father and son team Sidney and Harold Israel to carry on the tradition and a new era at the Paradis Latin theatre has begun.

Address & Contact Details:

Paradis Latin
28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine

History of Paradis Latin In Paris

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