Bordeuax Grand Theatre history

bordeaux grand theatreThe history of Bordeaux Grand Theatre dates back to mid 18th century, when a fire destroyed the old theatre. That Bordeaux, a stronghold of culture, would be without a theatre was unthinkable.

The governor soon decided to build a new magnificent theatre, shortly after the destruction of the old one. The chosen architect for the theatre was Victor Louis; a rather established architect who previously had designed both Palais Royal and Théâtre Français in Paris.

The first plans were laid out in year 1773 and the construction of the theatre began the very same year. Bordeaux Grand Theatre stood finished seven years later and the opening ceremony took place in spring 1780.

bordeaux grand theatreOver the centuries, the building underwent several changes, the more notable one being the removal of the small concert hall in favor for an expansion of the lobby in 1832. Even though it has undergone some changes over time, Bordeaux Grand Theatre of today is very much same one that stood here in 1780.

Why visit Bordeuax Grand Theatre ?

Bordeaux Grand Theatre is one of the many beautiful neoclassical buildings in Bordeaux – some even rate it the most beautiful. The theatre is not only known for what its outside can offer, but also for its inside.

Front façade

bordeaux grand theatre nightOne of the most striking features of the neoclassical Bordeaux Grand Theatre is of course its main façade. The beautiful façade is decorated with 12 Corinthian style columns.

On the top of the facade are 12 statues; nine represent the art muses and three the Roman goddess Juno, Venus and Minerva. From left to right, we first have the muse of music, Euterpe. Following her we have the muse of astronomy, Uraine, the Roman goddess of love – Venus and the muse of epic poetry, Callipoe.

The next statue on the line represents the muse of dance, Terischore, after her the muse of tragedy, Melpomèn, the muse of comedy, Thalie and the muse of rhetoric, Polymnie. Following her stands two the last two Roman goddesses; Juno, goddess of fruitfulness and the goddess of war, Minerva. The last two statues show Erato, muse of lyric poetry and Clio, muse of history.

bordeaux grand theatre statueAll these muses and goddesses together displays what Bordeaux Grand Theatre really is; a temple where emotions and expressions reign free. The center of the façade is decorated with a coat of arms with three French lilies inside of it. The French lily, also known as fleur-de-lis, was a symbol often used by the French monarchy.


While the outside of Bordeaux Grand Theatre is certainly striking, many say the inside of the theatre is even more beautiful. Inside you fill find beautiful sculptures, grand staircases and magnificent roof paintings. The main hall is painted in the colors of French royalty; blue, white and gold.

During the end of the 18th century, the main hall could house as many as 1700 spectators, which is actually higher than today’s number of seats. One of the reasons for this is that the original theatre hall had extra seats in the area where the orchestra currently is placed. Visiting Bordeaux is a great experience, but visiting the Grand Theatre is something extra special.

Today’s theatre

bordeaux grand theatre nightToday, the theatre is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux, as well as the Ballet National de Bordeaux. Musical plays, operas, dancing acts and much more is shown on a regular basis in the theatre hall.  Ever since the theatre opened its doors in 1780, it has been – and continues to be – the center of artistic life in Bordeaux.

Bordeuax Grand Theatre location

The cathedral is located in Bordeaux, in western France.Together with its surrounding buildings, the theatre forms the cultural heart of the city. For the exact location of the Grand Theatre of Bordeaux, check out the Location Map to the right.

Bordeuax Grand Theatre Video

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