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“Interesting architecture in the apparent new wave of concert halls”

Philharmonie de Paris
Ranked #17 of 262 Concerts & Shows in Paris
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Putting on exceptional concerts is only one aspect of the Philharmonie de Paris. With its rehearsal rooms, educational centre, exhibition space, restaurants and convivial setting within the Parc de la Villette, it has been designed as a true 'living space'.
Reviewed 8 February 2018

It seems there are two schools of architecture designing for concert halls, the absolutely functional with fitting in as many attendees as possible in rows versus the school that accepts the challenge of a visually beautiful building as well as making it economically viable, and of course sounding good. Philharmonie Paris is of the latter variety, and it's interior asymmetry may well have inspired the even newer Elbphilharmonie. The acoustics were good to my ear and line of site not problematic. The only concern was the steepness of tiers with no hand rails to assist the less agile in the audience.

Thank Julia H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"concert hall"
in 23 reviews
"music museum"
in 4 reviews
"jean nouvel"
in 4 reviews
"la villette"
in 4 reviews
"excellent acoustics"
in 2 reviews
"violin concerto"
in 2 reviews
"nice concert"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful building"
in 2 reviews
in 19 reviews
in 13 reviews
in 26 reviews
in 8 reviews
in 11 reviews
in 11 reviews
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7 - 11 of 421 reviews

Reviewed 27 January 2018

Awful layout. I arrived 30 minutes early, but the signs are confusing (even though I am fluent in French). I stood in line at three different (wrong) box offices, each one understaffed by about 80%. In the end, I missed the concert because the place is so poorly laid out and was operating at 20% capacity (with slow, distracted staff). Nice architecture, but stick to the old venues if you actually want to catch a show. It's a disgrace of incompetence, and architectural form over musical function.

Thank Nikolai W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2017

Spectacular concert hall! The day we visited, it was not playing the local orchestra, so I can not make an assessment. The concert we attended was amazing! And speechless to the place. It's really gorgeous! It is well worth it if you find tickets for a good presentation!

Thank FabianoRS_jund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2017

The new venue for the Paris Philharmonic is a stunning design by French architect Jean Nouvel who is also responsible for the new Louvre Abu Dhabi museum. It is located at the outskirts of Paris at La Villette but, as with everything in Paris, an easy ride on the métro.

The hall has state of the art acoustics and the interior is an enormous pleasure to behold. As with most cultural venues in France, the Philharmonie's ticket prices are heavily subsidised by the French government, so do take advantage of this offering especially if, like myself, you come from America or another country where culture is not exactly a first priority.

My Christmas concert, a piece by Monteverdi, was performed by Arts Florissants, a group that was founded 38 years ago by William Christie, plays on original instruments, and is currently in residence at the Philharmonie. William Christie was conducting. This was a memorable experience and, if you decide to go, I recommend you book your tickets in advance on the site of the Philharmonie.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 December 2017

This review is written from the perspective of a regular concertgoer, not as a casual visitor. In total since the place opened, I have been to about a dozen concerts, the last two years ago before my final visits in November this year.

The good: excellent sound and great viewing
The bad: where do I begin?

1. The seat design is appalling, especially in the most expensive seats in the middle of the parquet (stalls). So cramped is the space between the rows that the entire row has to stand and lean backwards to enable patrons to pass them to get to their seat. Even then, it is hard to avoid trampling on the feet of those standing to let you pass. Worse still, when all are seated and the concert begins, for me, an average male height and weight, it is necessary to part my knees/legs to accommodate the person directly in front. I noted that others of my dimensions were also sitting as if on horseback! So uncomfortable is this position that I had to abandon my 29 November concert at interval, thereby missing the Shostakovich symphony I had come to hear.

2. The location. Poorly served by public transport: one nearly always packed to the rafters Metro line (#5). For most concertgoers, given that a mid trip transfer up and down staircases is necessary, almost an hour is needed to get there. As if to acknowledge this, all evening concerts start at 8.30 pm, unlike anywhere else in the world, where 8 pm or earlier is the norm. With concerts finishing at or just before 11 pm, don’t expect to get to bed before midnight!

3. The approaches. After leaving the metro station, one is faced with a vast open cobbled approach to the hall: about five minutes’ walk in the wind and rain, with no shelter whatsoever. This is surely a design fiaso.

4.The entrance. Although there are lifts (not easy to find) , almost all concertgoers use the two-stage escalators , which brings me to design fiasco #2. To access the second escalator, patrons have to do a U-turn in a very tight space at the top of the first, so, to avoid a potentially dangerous crush at the U-turn, only a few patrons at a time are allowed on the first escalator. The others are held in a bunch at ground level in the cold and wet awaiting their turn.

As to the view from outside, the building presents as impressive and imposing, but, to me, with none of the quirky charm of say the Berlin Philharmonie or the jaw-dropping magnificence of the Guggenheim Bilbao.

So, for me, it is farewell to the Philharmonie de Paris. I shall never return.

Thank Silverfox4005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philharmonie d, Head of social media at Philharmonie de Paris, responded to this reviewResponded 6 December 2017

Dear Silverfox,
First we would like to thank you for your review.

1. We are improving our seats in the concert hall on a regular basis. New arrangements will be done in the coming weeks to make it ever better. Come back soon and give us your feedback then.

2. The Philharmonie de Paris is far from some places, but close to many others. You can join with Metro line 5 as you mentionned, but also by tram, velib, and autolib services. In the sunny season, you can even come by boat on the Ourcq Canal. Not so many concerts halls can be reached by boat.

3. The approach: Our buildings (Cité de la musique is right in front of you near the metro entrance) are in a park. Makes it uncomfortable in winter, but delightful in spring and summer.

4. The entrance: Escalators appear to be the best way to reach the concert hall entrance, even though some issues might have happened in the past.

Again, we are very happy you enjoy the concert hall and concerts, and hope you will have an occasion to re-examine your opinion when joining us for furthers concerts.

the Philharmonie team.

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