Olympia (Paris)

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The facade of Olympia at night

The Olympia is a music hall on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris .

The first Olympia

Erected in 1888 by Joseph Oller (later founder of the Moulin Rouge ), the Olympia is the oldest still existing music hall in Paris. The concert hall opened on April 12, 1889 under the name Montagnes Russes ( roller coaster ), but was soon renamed Olympia . The lettering is now emblazoned in large white letters on a red background above the entrance on the facade from 1893.

Inaugurated on April 12, 1893 by the greatest French diva of the era, the singer and dancer La Goulue , the Olympia soon welcomed the greatest French artists of the time, such as Mistinguett , Marie Dubas , Fréhel , Joséphine Baker , Damia and Yvonne Printemps .

In addition to music and singing , a large number of other events took place, circuses appeared, ballets and operettas were staged here. However, when the time of the big stars was over, the hall was converted into a profitable cinema in 1929 .

Bruno Coquatrix's Olympia

After the Second World War , Bruno Coquatrix took over the Olympia in 1952 and restored it. The event room was re-inaugurated on February 5, 1954 after being idle for 25 years. On this occasion Gilbert Bécaud gave an impressive performance for Lucienne Delyle for the first time at the Olympia. In the following years all famous world stars performed here. Édith Piaf achieved world fame from January 1955 through her regular appearances until October 1962, especially the three-month gig in 1958 that was remembered. There are live recordings of five of their appearances there.

Forty years later, the building was threatened with demolition. A multi-storey car park was to be built in its place, but on January 7, 1993, French Minister of Culture Jack Lang declared the Olympics a national cultural heritage . As a result, the facade and the splendid, red interior were restored in two years of construction.

First address for concert events

Poster announcing singer Enrico Macias and Brazilian singer Elis Regina at Olympia in 1968.

Among the French (and Belgian ) artists who gave concerts in this hall, the following deserve special mention: Charles Aznavour , Adamo , Barbara , Gilbert Bécaud , Lucienne Boyer , Jacques Brel , Georges Brassens , Marcel Dadi , Dalida , Michel Delpech , Jacques Dutronc , Léo Ferré , Claude François , France Gall , Garou , Juliette Gréco , Johnny Hallyday , Françoise Hardy , Patricia Kaas , Helmut Lotti , Enrico Macias , Mireille Mathieu , Édith Piaf , Axelle Red , Renaud , Tino Rossi , Jean Sablon , Émilie Simon , Alan Stivell , Anne Sylvestre , Charles Trenet , Sylvie Vartan and Grégory Lemarchal , who named his first live album after the hall.

The Olympia also marked a step in the ladder of success for French- Canadian singers, including Robert Charlebois , Monique Leyrac , Celine Dion , Daniel Lavoie and Roch Voisine .

Singers and musicians from the Maghreb and the Arab world also came to Olympia , such as Oum Kalthoum , Fairuz , Ragheb Alama and Ahlam .

Other artists came from the United States , Canada, Great Britain and the rest of the world. The concerts of these international stars made music history here : Louis Armstrong , Joan Baez , David Bowie , James Brown , Jeff Buckley , Ray Charles , Petula Clark , Connie Francis , Alice Cooper , Bob Dylan , Maria Farantouri , Judy Garland , Bill Haley (his 1958 The concert has now been released on CD), Jimi Hendrix , Julio Iglesias , Lili Ivanova , Madonna , Mahalia Jackson , Quincy Jones , Janis Joplin , Mary Roos , Lokua Kanza , Diana Krall , Frédérik Mey , Scorpions , Herman van Veen , Van Morrison , Olivera Katarina , Nana Mouskouri , Tereza Kesovija , Roy Orbison , Luciano Pavarotti , Otis Redding , Frank Sinatra , Mikis Theodorakis , Caterina Valente , Atahualpa Yupanqui , Amália Rodrigues , Mika , David Gilmour , Dave Gahan (appeared in 2004 on the Live Monsters DVD ), not most recently The Beatles and The Rolling Stones as well as several others.

Special appearances

The story of Édith Piafs is closely linked to that of Olympias. Just two months before she was due to die of cancer , she gave one of her most memorable concerts, where she found it difficult to hold up in the pain.

Even Jacques Brel's farewell to the stage is generally associated with his last appearance at the Olympia in October 1966th In fact, the concert was the premiere of his farewell tour, which ended on May 16, 1967 in Roubaix .

On October 19, 1955, Sidney Bechet gave a free concert at the Olympia; The occasion was his one millionth record sold on the Vogue label, for which he received a gold record . 5000 fans wanted to attend the concert, but only around half were allowed in. The hall was demolished by the disappointed fans, ten people were injured and around two million (old) francs were lost . The event went down in history as Le soir où l'on cassa l'Olympia ("The evening the Olympia was smashed").


  • Jean-Michel Boris, Jean-François Brieu, Eric Didi: Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, 50 ans de Music-Hall. Editions Hors Collection, Paris 2003, ISBN 2-258-06234-9
  • Paulette Coquatrix: Mes noces d'or avec l'Olympia , Bordeaux, Le Castor Astral.
  • Jeanne Tallon: J'étais ouvreuse à l'Olympia. Editions Fayard, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-213-61839-9

Web links

Commons : Olympia (Paris)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. Olivier Todd: Jacques Brel - a life . Achilla-Presse, Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-928398-23-7 , pp. 403, 422.

Coordinates: 48 ° 52 ′ 13 ″  N , 2 ° 19 ′ 42 ″  E