L'Olympia: the history of a legendary Paris venue

Published by Caroline de Sortiraparis · Photos by Caroline de Sortiraparis · Published on February 27th, 2024 at 12:54 p.m.
Opened in 1893, the Olympia celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2023. We take a look back at the history of this legendary Parisian concert hall, which has seen the likes of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Barbara and Johnny Hallyday, as well as Billie Holiday, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

There are certain places in Paris which, at the mere mention of their name, arouse admiration and fascination. In 2023, the Olympia, the legendary concert hall on Boulevard des Capucines, celebrates its 130th anniversary. The Olympia was inaugurated on April 12, 1893, making it the oldest music hall in Paris still in operation today.

Although fairground attractions were offered in its early days, song soon made its appearance, notably through music-hall revues with Mistinguett and Yvonne Printemps between 1911 and 1914. After the First World War, when the venue was closed, the Olympia played host to a number of chanson stars of the day, including Fréhel, Marie Dubas and Lucienne Boyer.

Unfortunately, as the years went by, the popularity of the venue waned, and in 1929 it was transformed into a cinema. The venue was renamed Olympia - Théâtre Jacques Haïck until 1954. This was the year the Olympia was reborn as a music hall, thanks to the arrival of Bruno Coquatrix as director of the Parisian venue. Work was also carried out on the interior and the hall, to provide audiences with a magnificent new venue.

The new Olympia opened on February 5, 1954. A date that marked the return of chanson to the Olympia. And success followed. In the 1950s and 1960s, the greatest artists of the day took to the stage, including Georges Brassens (1954), Jacques Brel (1964, 1966...), Léo Ferré (1955, 1972), Édith Piaf ( 1955, 1961...), Juliette Gréco (1955, 1966...), Barbara (1969, 1978...)... International artists were also present, including Louis Armstrong (1962), Ella Fitzgerald (1963), Billie Holiday (1958), Sidney Bechet (1955, 1958...), and later The Beatles (1964) and The Rolling Stones (1964).

Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur

One of the musical highlights of the Olympia's 130 years is Edith Piaf. In 1961, when she was ill, she performed one of her most beautiful songs there, " Non, je ne regrette rien ", and for three months held two shows a night!

Johnny Hallyday also created euphoria when he first performed there in 1961. The artist returned on numerous occasions, in 1962, in 1964 for 57 performances, in 1965, in 1966 for a Musicorama, and again in 1967, alongside Sylvie Vartan.

Another highlight, another year: one evening in 1964, Jacques Brel performed " Amsterdam " for the first time. It was a triumph, and his stage performance remains engraved in the memories of many. Jacques Brel 's love affair with the Olympia led to his official farewell concert there in October 1966.

While the songs and concerts have left their mark on the history of theOlympia, so have the shows. For many years now, comedians have also taken to the stage, including Coluche, Guy Bedos, Florence Foresti and Dany Boon.

And there's more to come from this legendary venue. The Olympia still has many surprises in store for us in the months and years to come.

Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur Motionless In White in concert at the Olympia, Paris, February 2025
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Fans of psychedelic rock? This is the concert for you! On Saturday, September 21, 2024, the legendary Olympia concert hall in Paris opens its doors to two of the genre's biggest names, with a program featuring the unmissable members of The Dandy Warhols and Texan band The Black Angels! [Read more]

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Celebrate the philosophy of the Saïan Supa Crew at a unique concert at the Olympia in Paris on Monday, November 25, 2024. For this "Saïan Supa Celebration", join Sir Samuel, Sly Johnson, Specta and Vicelow on the legendary Parisian stage! [Read more]

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Viktor Vincent au théâtre de la Tour EiffelViktor Vincent au théâtre de la Tour EiffelViktor Vincent au théâtre de la Tour EiffelViktor Vincent au théâtre de la Tour Eiffel Viktor Vincent, the mentalist at the Olympia for the first time
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The Kills en concert à La Gaîté Lyrique : on y était, on vous raconteThe Kills en concert à La Gaîté Lyrique : on y était, on vous raconteThe Kills en concert à La Gaîté Lyrique : on y était, on vous raconteThe Kills en concert à La Gaîté Lyrique : on y était, on vous raconte The Kills in concert at the Olympia in Paris in May 2024
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Corey Taylor en concert au Trianon : on y était, on vous raconteCorey Taylor en concert au Trianon : on y était, on vous raconteCorey Taylor en concert au Trianon : on y était, on vous raconteCorey Taylor en concert au Trianon : on y était, on vous raconte Corey Taylor in concert at the Olympia in Paris in July 2024
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Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance public Helldebert, alias Aldebert, in concert at the Olympia in Paris in April 2025
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Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance public David Castello-Lopes: his show 'Authentique' for an evening at L'Olympia
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Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - public ambianceVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - public ambianceVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - public ambianceVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - public ambiance Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, in concert at the Olympia in Paris in May 2024
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Isaac Delusion en concert à L'Olympia, Paris : expérience musicale immersive inéditeIsaac Delusion en concert à L'Olympia, Paris : expérience musicale immersive inéditeIsaac Delusion en concert à L'Olympia, Paris : expérience musicale immersive inéditeIsaac Delusion en concert à L'Olympia, Paris : expérience musicale immersive inédite Isaac Delusion in concert at L'Olympia in November 2024
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Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance publicVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur - ambiance public Olivia Ruiz in concert at the Olympia in Paris in November 2024
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Keane en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en avril 2024Keane en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en avril 2024Keane en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en avril 2024Keane en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en avril 2024 Keane in concert at the Olympia in Paris in April 2024
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Lynda Lemay présente 'La Vie est un Conte de Fous' à l'Olympia, ParisLynda Lemay présente 'La Vie est un Conte de Fous' à l'Olympia, ParisLynda Lemay présente 'La Vie est un Conte de Fous' à l'Olympia, ParisLynda Lemay présente 'La Vie est un Conte de Fous' à l'Olympia, Paris Lynda Lemay presents "La Vie est un Conte de Fous" at the Olympia, Paris
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Eddy De Pretto en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en novembre 2018Eddy De Pretto en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en novembre 2018Eddy De Pretto en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en novembre 2018Eddy De Pretto en concert à l'Olympia de Paris en novembre 2018 Eddy de Pretto in concert at the Olympia in Paris in April 2024
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Champion des pistes : des animations sportives gratuites autour des JO à tester à l'Accor ArenaChampion des pistes : des animations sportives gratuites autour des JO à tester à l'Accor ArenaChampion des pistes : des animations sportives gratuites autour des JO à tester à l'Accor ArenaChampion des pistes : des animations sportives gratuites autour des JO à tester à l'Accor Arena Kalash in concert in three Paris venues in March 2025
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Visuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieurVisuels salles de spectacle et théâtres - Olympia intérieur Mireille Mathieu in concert at the Olympia in Paris in October 2025
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Practical information

Location

28 Boulevard des Capucines
75009 Paris 9

Accessibility info

Official website
www.olympiahall.com

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