Birth of a mythical place

Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, decided to build a theater on the rue des Fosses-Saint-Victor, at the very spot where once stood, a century before, a fortification known as “the wall of Philippe Auguste.” He called it the Theater Latin and celebrated its inaugurated in 1803. There would be beautiful moments of glory during the Empire and Restoration periods but only after 1830 would it become one of the highlights of Parisian life. The Latin Theater was not one of those “concerts café’s” on the right bank of the Seine “which pushes the song”. (Caf’concs the expression of the time) No, it’s was a very popular and “a la mode” establishment frequented by a heterogeneous clientele, and attracted artists from all walks of life, bourgeois intellectuals, students, workers, merchants and aristocrats alike.

The atmosphere of the Literary Salon that dwelled on the lower floor of the theatre was that of the human comedy by Honoré de Balzac, fed and nurtured by all manner of literature, political discussion and poetics. Everyone unanimously called this salon “the literary watering hole”; where great writers of the time were frequently seen, such as Balzac, of course, and Alexandre Dumas father and son, and later Prosper Mérimée…

The Universal Exhibition

Paris begins restoring to its former beauty in preparation for the Universal Exhibition of 1889. It is out of the question to leave these ruins just five hundred meters from Notre Dame! And so, like the Phoenix, our theater would be reborn from its ashes.

To do this, Paris calls upon the now famous … Gustave Eiffel!

January 20, 1889
The Paradis Latin is born…

Sunday January 20 1889: it opens its doors, newly renamed, Le Paradis Latin is born …its success was immediate: with sell out crowds every evening. Extraordinary shows and ballets were created, and it was a total triumph. But the real devotion of the Paradis Latin comes with the launch of Yvette Guilbert, one of the most famous singers of the era.

The grand “Fortune Teller” of the Moulin Rouge – which will be launched in autumn 1889 – and the “Divan Japonais” was now produced in this new fashionable theater. To recount the story, the troupe of Paradis Latin performs for several weeks, the second part of the evening – modesty obliges the adaptation of a libertine tale of Machiavelli, The Mandragore … In the early twentieth century, the new trendy district of Paris nightlife would turn to Montmartre. The left bank was robbed of the spotlight by the hills of the Paris heights. Le Paradis Latin would suffer: the Belle Epoque was not to be for everyone!

Financial difficulties were inevitable, and the cabaret was forced to close its doors several times … until it was finely purchased by a glass and earthenware creator, Charles Leune, who would install a furnace and a bottling workshop. 1930’s: The last registered occupant, a specialist in industrial packaging of pharmaceuticals, left for a long time, the key under the door

28 rue du Cardinal Lemoine

Forty years later a new buyer shows interest. Jean Kriegel, a real estate developer, purchases the property occupying the buildings 28 and 28 bis rue du Cardinal Lemoine. He envisioned transforming the property into apartments. Upon visiting the establishment, the new owner inspected room by room and to his surprise found eighteen thousand test tubes and Petri dishes. Vestiges of the former activity were present everywhere abandoned by the former owner. Even more surprising, upon the destruction of partitions and false ceilings, the impressive metal structure created by Eiffel was laid bare…! On its walls, shattered fragments of posters and pieces of scenery were scattered. Among them, the proud owner discovered a poster … Paradis Latin (opposite side). On the first floor, workers found a stunning cathedral, with gilts and columns, arches and high top ceiling.

But the most surprising was yet to come: a superb cupola hand painted to the glory of pantomime, the opera, ballet and eccentricities.

Jean-Marie Rivière

The direction, production and artistic license is conferred on Jean-Marie Rivière. The direction, production and artistic license is conferred on Jean-Marie Rivière.

On the 14 November 1977, he introduced Paris Paradis, a poetic and burlesque show realized in the collaboration with Simonini and Frederic Pierre Botton. It was an unequivocal success. Le Paradis Latin reborn again from the ashes, and forever!

Show must go on !

The artistic director, Jean-Marie River, then retires to the West Indies. But “the show must go on.” New journals are linked, co-written and directed by Christian Dura: Champagne in 1984 and in 1987 Hello Paradis, Viva Paradis and finally, to commemorate the centenary of the place.

For ten years the new Paradis Latin in 1987, the magazine Hello Paradise, true to its title, hello boogie boogie on a pick-up giant, a fabulous Romeo and Juliet, modern ballet, a fantastic picture, a gypsy saga , a mini-musical in Louisiana, a tavern on the Marne and of course the famous Cancan. During this special evening, the popular Line Renaud, faithful to the cabaret, the ten breath of birthday cake candles at the Paradis Latin and climbs on stage to sing Feeling, became a worldwide success in its American adaptation of the song for me, written by her recently deceased husband, Louie Gasté. This interpretation of Line Renaud at the Paradis Latin is an unforgettable emotional moment in the history of French song.

2 millions spectators

In almost twenty years, the director had dazzled the eyes of 2 million spectators, with 6 shows and over 1600 unforgettable evening performances! Sidney Israel and his son Harold take over: and a new era begins for Le Paradis Latin, with an international development, and 3 hit shows: : Viva Paradis, Paradis d’Amour and Paradis à la Folie.

L’Oiseau Paradis !

At the end of 2018, Paradis latin was acquired by the businessman Walter Butler. He decided renovate the Historical hall, bringing state-of-the art sound, light and sets equipments and to produce a new show. The choice of Kamel Ouali as show director and choreographer for this challenge was obvious:  The  has been able to create a dazzling show with an amazing choreography, sets, costumes and music. An international cast of thirty artists and attractions enliven the place, bringing modernity, sensuality and poetry while respecting the cabaret codes.