Lyon’s Théâtre des Célestins (Théâtre de Lyon) is as famous for its design as it is for its theater program, which showcases contemporary and classical pieces and even cabaret. The most established theater in the city, Célestins was designed by French architect Gaspard André and unveiled in 1881 in the neoclassical style inspired by Ancient Greece. André also designed other famous Lyon buildings, including Place des Jacobins and the Grand Temple de Lyon.
Named after the Célestine monastery that sat in the spot of the theater from 1407 to 1779, Célestins is in the heart of Old Lyon, just off the right bank of the Saône. The famous theater has two auditoriums inside—one with space for 750 people and another smaller one with 150 seats. Its facade gets lit up during Lyon’s Festival of Lights every December, which attracts millions of visitors.
Listed as a “monument historique” in 1997, Théâtre des Célestins was renovated between 2003 and 2005, and today, the site is accessible for tours that take visitors behind the scenes and even into the costume rooms to learn all about the theater’s history.
To the Théâtre des Célestins on 4 rue Charles Dullin, take metro line A or D to Bellecour station. From here, it’s a quarter-mile (400-meter) walk north. The theater’s in-house bar-restaurant is open one hour before and after performances. Two-hour theater tours cost 10 EUR per adult.