Théâtre Montparnasse

Paris, France | C.1886

Photo Credit: Audrey Romanson-Derognat

An institution in Parisian theater and a designated historical landmark, Théâtre Montparnasse has been presenting theatrical works for more than 250 years. The theatre, seating 715 for main stage, has changed directors numerous times, but always retained its commitment to storytelling and the arts.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, performers would use pantomimes and short burlesque acts performed in the street outside to entice potential customers into the theatre to pay for a show. These shows could be upwards of 10 acts and last more than 6 hours, hence the reason for an onsite central stove for spectators to heat dinner during intermissions.

Before Théâtre Montparnasse earned its current ornate facade, the building was loosely held together by wood and plaster. It was in serious need of an upgrade in 1886 by architect Charles Peignet, famously known for designing the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

Of all Théâtre Montparnasse’s famed directors, few stand out more than Gaston Baty. During his 13 years at the helm from 1930-1943, he produced such famed works as Madame Bovary (1936) whose adaptation became so popular that it went to Broadway in 1936. Comédie Française member Myriam Feune de Colombi is the present-day theatre director responsible for adding a restaurant overlooking the Parisian streets as well as a second, smaller theatre that seats 200.

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