The converging point of many of the city’s high streets, pedestrianized Place de la Comédie is an inevitable stop on any Bordeaux itinerary. This lively and elegant square dates back to Gallo-Roman times, back when it was still home to the busy forum of Burdigala, and visitors could be momentarily fooled into thinking they've actually traveled back in time thanks to the Grand Théâtre’s exceptional architecture. Designed in the neo-classical style, it features a 12-column Corinthian portico surmounted by statues that represent the nine muses and three goddesses. Nevertheless, it wasn't until the 18th century that Place de la Comédie gained its prestige.
Architect Victor Louis–who also conceived Paris’ Palais Royal and Théâtre Français–wanted Bordeaux to have a temple of the arts that would reflect the city’s newly found grandeur. Grand Théâtre would quickly become one of the most sumptuous theaters across Europe (it was, in fact, the inspiration behind Paris’ lavish Opéra Garnier), and eventually, one of the very few wooden frame opera houses not to have burnt or required extensive rebuilding.
The Grand Théâtre may be most famous for its exceptional interior, but its impressive façade gives Place de la Comédie an enviable allure, which is only enhanced by the presence of the five-star Regent hotel. It may not be Bordeaux’s largest square, but it surely is the most elegant and most romantic, especially after night fall.
Place de la Comédie is located just outside the historic center of Bordeaux, just south of Place des Quinconces. It is accessible on foot, by tram via Route B (stop Grand Théâtre) or by car. The nearest parking lot is Vinci Park Services on Place des Grands Hommes. Parking costs €2 per hour. The Grand Théâtre is closed on Sunday and Monday but is open for visits from Tuesday to Saturday between 1 and 6:30 p.m. Guided tours run every Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30, 4 and 5:30 p.m. Visits cost €5 but are free for those under 26 years old.