Berlioz on Paris: excerpts from his correspondence
Berlioz on Paris: excerpts from the Journal des Débats
List of residential addresses
List of public buildings
This page is also available in French
See also on this site:
Concerts and performances 1825-1869 (Concerts and performances of his music in Paris, 1825-1869)
Concerts and performances 1825-1869 — texts and documents (Letters and documents on his concerts in Paris, 1825-1869)
and Berlioz: the revival (Performances of his music in Paris, 1869-1884)
Paris and Berlioz: the revival (Articles and reviews of concerts in Paris, 1869-1884) (in French)
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‘There is nothing in the world except Paris; it is an electric city which in turn attracts and repels, but to which in the end one must always return once you have lived here, and especially when you are French’ wrote Berlioz to his father in 1846 (CG no. 1060). The statement could serve as a motto for Berlioz’s entire career. Though he travelled extensively abroad, in Germany, central Europe, Russia, and England, and regularly enjoyed greater success there than he did in Paris, his career was indissolubly connected with the capital of France. He first arrived from his native La Côte-Saint-André as a young medical student in the autumn of 1821, and was to live there till his death on 8 March 1869. Paris both fascinated and repelled him, and this ambivalence of attitudes runs through much of his career and surfaces constantly in his writings, at least from the 1840s onwards. His dissatisfaction with his position in Paris and disgust with the musical tastes of the Parisian public became more pronounced as time passed, notably after the failure of the Damnation of Faust in December 1846 (cf. CG no. 1092) and the revolution of 1848 (cf. CG nos. 1162, 1238). The adjective ‘Parisian’ acquired for him a whole cluster of pejorative connotations, at once musical, cultural, and social: the word recurs with almost obsessive frequency in his correspondence and in his numerous critical writings, as may be seen from a selection of passages below from his feuilletons in the Journal des Débats. Another selection from his correspondence similarly illustrates his contradictory feelings towards Paris over a period of over 30 years. From this point of view Berlioz’s career may be described as an unrequited love-affair with the capital of France, in which he constantly craved for the same recognition that he found abundantly abroad. Though he had opportunities to leave Paris for good and settle abroad (in Vienna in 1846, in Dresden in 1854), and did seriously consider for a time establishing himself in London, none of these opportunities materialised, and he turned down with little hesitation the concrete offer that was made to him in Vienna in 1846 (CG nos. 1028, 1029, 1060). Whatever the shortcomings of Paris, and his inability to achieve there a viable position as composer and practising musician, it was for him, as he wrote to his uncle Félix Marmion in 1843, ‘the centre of gravity of the musical world and of all possible worlds’ (CG no. 823ter [vol. VIII]), and so it remained to the end of his life. As late as 1861, and after innumerable disappointments, he could still assert that there was no other place to live in except Paris: even Weimar and Rome were no match (CG no. 2557).
The present page is not intended to provide a full account of Berlioz in Paris – this would be tantamount to writing a complete biography of the composer – but to provide a chronological guide to all the buildings and monuments associated with his life and career in the French capital. These have been divided for convenience into two broad categories: residences and public buildings. The former is concerned principally with the domiciles of Berlioz in Paris and other places connected with his personal life, while the latter includes especially, though not exclusively, the venues where performances of Berlioz’s music and of other musical works or plays took place – concert halls, opera houses, theatres, and others (the division between “Residences” and “Public Buildings” is of course somewhat arbitrary: some locations could fit equally in one category or the other). Both are set out in chronological order and provide links to the relevant pages, where further information and illustrations are to be found.
Like every major city Paris has been in a state of continuous development and expansion over a long period of time. This was as true in Berlioz’s own lifetime as it had been before and was to continue after him – new streets and buildings were constructed or rebuilt, and construction frequently involved demolition or modification of what preceded it. This was particularly the case in the reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870) when Baron Haussmann, préfet of the Seine for most of Napoleon’s reign, created many new boulevards and transformed the appearance of the city to something close to what it is nowadays (for example, both the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Boulevard Saint-Germain are his creations). Hence while some streets and buildings have remained substantially as they were in Berlioz’s time, others have changed or even disappeared altogether. Not infrequently street numbers have been altered, which makes some identifications difficult. It is thus not possible to give more than a partial idea of the Paris that Berlioz knew. In our listing of places of relevance we have sought wherever possible to indicate what has survived and what has not. Places that have survived, even if at times in a modified form, are identified in the two lists with a black asterisk (*) and where possible are illustrated with photographs.
Two engravings of the early XIXth century give general views of Paris around the time of Berlioz’s arrival.
Admirers of Berlioz who visit Paris nowadays may well be struck by the almost complete absence of reference to the composer in any of the streets and places in Paris. Many of his predecessors or contemporaries in the musical world of his time are commemorated by streets. Thus there are streets called after Auber, Bellini, Berton, Boïeldieu, Cherubini, Donizetti, Glück, Grétry, Gossec, Gounod, Halévy, Hérold, Méhul, Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Jacques Offenbach, Rossini, St-Saëns, Scribe, Spontini, Ambroise Thomas, and others. But there is no public street called after Berlioz (the only street that bears his name is a private one, in the XVIth arrondissement). Even the small Square Berlioz, at the end of the rue de Calais and the rue de Vintimille, is no more than a part of the larger Place Adolphe Max. It is only in the cemetery at Montmartre that there is an Avenue Berlioz, along which the composer’s tomb is to be found.
Berlioz himself would probably not have been surprised that over two centuries after his birth the capital city of France, unlike his native La Côte Saint-André, does not yet give him adequate recognition at the official level.
CG = Correspondance Générale
To his grandfather Nicolas Marmion (CG no. 240; 15 September, from Rome):
[…] At least what is still left to me is love for my art, which will never desert me; unfortunately I am obliged to live in a country where the god I serve is unknown. If Rome ever was the land of music, it can now be truthfully said that Rome is no longer in Rome. […] One has to go outside Paris to experience its immense superiority in everything; and once in Italy one has to give up the majority of intellectual delights that are the charm of our capital. […]
To Ferdinand Hiller (CG no. 250; 3 December, from Rome):
[…] Half a million curses! Must I be locked up here, in this drab and antimusical country, while the Choral Symphony, Euryanthe and Robert-le-Diable are being performed in Paris, and while the workmen in Lyon are enjoying themselves like devils! […]
To Victor Hugo (CG no. 254; 10 December, from Rome):
[…] Bear in mind, if I am writing to you, if I ramble on, if I say absurdities, if I momentarily attract your attention with my untimely cries of admiration, bear in mind that I am in Rome, exiled for two years from the musical world, because of an academic ruling reinforced by the need for the pension attached to the first prize, that I am dying through lack of air, like a bird under an inflatable container, deprived of music, poetry, theatres, excitement, everything, and then imagine that after waiting for six months I have managed to obtain Notre-Dame de Paris, which I have just read with tears and gnashing of teeth, and you will understand why I am writing to you, I whose name may not even be known to you, who has nothing to ask you, not even a libretto for an opera. […]
To Édouard Rocher (CG no. 617; 9 January, from Paris):
[…] This life of violent twists and turns suits me so well that I could not endure any other. All I need is time and health; as for patience, I have enough of that to defy the drop of water that hollows out the rock or builds stalactites. […]
To Robert Schumann (CG no. 630; 14 February, from Paris):
[…] We live here in a state of perpetual fevered agitation; it is sometimes cruel, but this kind of life nevertheless has its charms, so much so that if I was obliged to die this very moment I would be very annoyed. I am sure that the roar of our artistic ocean would be to your liking. How we would dream, how we would sing together, were you to come! Our world is a mixed one, there are few honest young men who deserve the name of artists, many dwarfs, quantities of CRETINS and a huge number of SCOUNDRELS. […] But never mind; once you are used to it you can live in this environment, just as one swims in the ocean in spite of the sharks and without even thinking about them. And then there are delights in Parisian life which cannot be described but which you will experience. […]
To Humbert Ferrand (CG no. 755; 3 October, from Paris):
[…] When the sun shines, I am seized by a violent desire to go and visit you […] But when misty days return, I am seized again with the fever of Paris and I feel that living anywhere else is virtually impossible for me. And yet, would you believe it? The vehemence of my musical passions has given way to a sort of calm, to resignation, or contempt if you like, for what I find shocking in the way art is treated in the contemporary scene, and this does not cause me any alarm. On the contrary, the more I progress, the more I see that this outward indifference conserves energies for the struggle which passion would dissipate. […]
To his sister Nanci (CG no. 1029; 24 March, from Breslau):
[…] But strangely enough my damned country has a terribly strong hold on my affections ; I felt this recently in Vienna when I was asked whether I was interested in the post of director of the Imperial Chapel which had fallen vacant because of the death of Weigl; this position would have forced me to settle in Austria. After thinking it over for a couple of hours, I realised that it would be impossible for me to live anywhere except in Paris and I turned down the offer. […]
See also CG nos. 1028, 1060
To Humbert Ferrand (CG no. 1131; 1 November, from Paris):
[…] Let us now see what England has to offer. France is sinking ever deeper into silliness as far as music is concerned, and the more I see of foreign countries, the less I like my own. Forgive the blasphemy!
But art in France is dead and in a state of putrefaction… So one has to go to places where it still exists. […]
See also CG no. 1092
To Auguste Morel (CG no. 1162; 14 January, from London):
[…] As for France I no longer think of it, and may God preserve me from temptations such as those you aroused in your last letter, when you suggested I should come and give a concert in Paris in April. If ever I have enough money to GIVE concerts to my friends in Paris I will do it, but do not imagine I am still so simple-minded as to count on the public to cover the expenses. I will not make any further demands on its attention, only to be rewarded with indifference and lose the money I earn with such difficulty in my travels. For me this will be source of much pain, because the support of my friends in France is always what means most to me. But the facts are there; when I compare the impression produced by my music on audiences in Europe who have heard it, I have to conclude that it is the Parisian public who understands it least. […]
To his uncle Victor Berlioz (CG no. 1238; 26 November, from Paris):
[…] The charms of Paris are not very compelling at this time of emergencies which we are trying to live through. Every evening you wonder what riot (or what pack of attack-dogs) you will face the next day. Paris is no longer the intelligent, industrious, artistic and literate capital city to which the whole of civilised Europe would congregate; it is a club of lunatics and scoundrels who yell, gesticulate, conspire and write, without knowing what they are shouting, scribbling, threatening and demanding. Assuming I am a Parisian, I can, on returning from every one of my trips abroad, parody the line of Voltaire and say:
The more I see of foreign countries, the less I like my own.
The fact is that, at least as regards everything which concerns my art, we in Paris are real fools. Besides, these wanderings across Europe have developed in me the taste for travel which I have always had, and I never feel more at home in France than when I come back the day before I am due to leave again. […]
To Baron von Donop (CG no. 1650; 16 November, from Hanover):
[…] But what stops me now and, I hope, in the future, are the practical difficulties; I cannot start all over again in Paris the exhausting struggles I endured some 10 or 15 years ago. Little by little a cluster of mediocrities has developed there, who block every path, wall up every door, have the ear of all those in power, and make inaccessible to me the means of producing my works. They are like insects of the ocean, corals and madrepores, around the beautiful islands of Polynesia, who build rocks on which ships get wrecked. […]
To his sister Adèle (CG no. 1783; 27 August, from Paris):
[…] At the time of writing I am genuinely sick of not being able to satisfy my love of art. But in France! there is nothing, nothing at all. Indifference and cretinism, crass industrialism, savagery on the part of those who govern, ignorance and brutality of the wealth, vulgar concerns on the part of everyone… Snakes, hedgehogs, toads, geese, turkeys, crows, bugs and vermin of every kind, that is the delightful population of our earthly Paradise in Paris. […]
To Hugo Senger (CG no. 2242; August, from Baden-Baden):
[…] You evidently possess remarkable talent, which will rapidly develop. But you are seriously mistaken if you believe me capable of helping you in Paris; I do not have the kind of influence there that is required to find you a position. I am myself surrounded with enemies who paralyse my efforts, prevent me from performing my works and force me to go outside France to get them known.
Paris is the capital of musical barbarism, do not forget this. Everything there is in the hands of the Barbarians. […]
To Princess Carolyn Sayn-Wittgenstein (CG no. 2347; 22 January, from Paris):
[…] Paris is for me like a cemetery, to me its paving stones are funeral slabs. I only live in the past. Everywhere I find memories of friends or of enemies who are no more. There I met Balzac for the last time; here I went for a walk with Paganini; at another place I showed the way to the Duchess of Abrantès, a worthy woman who was potty; there was the house where Mme de Girardin lived, an intelligent lady who thought I was an imbecile; here is the pavement where I talked to [the singer] Adolphe Nourrit on the eve of his departure for Naples; this desolate house is that of poor Rachel [an actress]; etc., etc., they are all dead! so many dead people! why are we not already dead! […]
To Humbert Ferrand (CG no. 2368; 28 April, from Paris):
[…] To answer your questions on the three new operas of the day, I will say that Gound’s Faust has some very fine moments and some very mediocre ones, and that the libretto has wrecked some situations which are admirably suited to music that should have been invented, had Goethe not done this himself.
That the weakness and colourlessness (forgive the word) of the music of Herculanum fill one with despair! That the music of le Pardon de Ploërmel is written, on the contrary, in a masterly way that is ingenious, refined, stimulating and often poetic!
There is a gulf between Meyerbeer and these young men. You can see that he is not a PARISIAN. You see the opposite for David and Gounod. […]
See Journal des Débats 12 March 1859 (Herculanum); 26 March 1859 (Faust); 10 April 1859 (Ploërmel)
See CG no. 2557
To Toussaint Bennet (CG no. 2834; 22 February, from Paris):
[…] I shake the hand of Théodore [Ritter], and wish him seriously to forget Parisian manners, Parisian conversation, and every sort of Parisian style. There is nothing more silly than this perpetual, flat way of joking and sneering at everything, as they do in Paris; he should forget this for ever. He is too great an artist to take any notice of this. He should not write too much, nor too quickly, nor for too many people, and should let people come to him without making too many advances to them. […]
A full listing of the nearly 400 feuilletons which Berlioz wrote for the Journal des Débats between 1834 and 1863 may be found on a separate page; all of them have now been transcribed on this site (see the separate listing which gives the detailed history of the transcription).
27 September 1835: Though he shares a little in each of the three schools, the German, the Italian, and the French, Hérold, though not having a style of his own, is neither Italian, nor French, nor German. His music resembles very much the industrial products made in Paris that follow methods invented elsewhere and slightly modified: it is Parisian music. That is the reason for its success with the public of the Opéra-Comique, which represents in our view the average class of the people who live in the capital, while it finds very little favour with those music-lovers and artists whose more delicate taste, more developed culture and greater discrimination separate clearly from the masses.
9 January 1844 (reproduced in Mémoires,
Travels to Germany I, Tenth
Letter): […] It is there that our art is sometimes sunk in torpor and
sometimes in ferment; it is there that it is at once sublime and mediocre, proud
and abject, a beggar and a king; it is there that it is exalted and despised,
adored and insulted; it is in Paris that there are devotees who are faithful,
enthusiastic, intelligent and dedicated, it is in Paris that too often music
speaks to the deaf, to idiots, to savages. […]
And these noble souls usually fail only because they have ignored this sad but indisputable truth: that given our present habits and our form of government, the more the artist is an artist, the more he must suffer; — the more his creations are novel and grand, the more severely he must be punished as a consequence of what he has achieved; — the more lofty and swift the flight of his thoughts, and the more out of reach he becomes to the feeble eyes of the crowd.
The Medici are dead. It is not our representatives who can replace them. […]
23 July 1844: I will not be saying anything new when I repeat after so many others that Paris is the capital of the civilised world. The superiority of Paris for everything that concerns the arts, and especially for the performance of music, cannot be disputed. Witness all the singers and all the virtuosos, whatever country they belong to: any reputation and successes they may have won elsewhere is nothing for them, so long as the plaudits of the Parisian public have not conferred on them a solemn seal of approval. As for orchestral music it is acknowledged by everyone, including foreigners themselves, that the orchestra of the Paris Conservatoire is the first orchestra in the world. During my travels in Germany [in 1842-3] I have admittedly been very fortunate; with one or two exceptions I have found everywhere excellent orchestras, even when the number of players was limited to the strictest minimum; but nowhere did I find this incredible ensemble, this perfect unanimity of feeling and expression displayed by the orchestra of the Paris Conservatoire, and which is due, I believe, to the superiority of their string players who have all been taught at the same school, and possess the same style and technical equipment, which makes the listener feel that the parts for violins, violas, cellos and double-basses are each played by a single artist who brings to life under his powerful bow a single gigantic instrument. [A fuller excerpt translated in Festival de l’Industrie (1844)]
7 January 1852: This proves that M. Brandus [a music publisher] judges Parisian dilettantism less severely than his colleagues, that he believes in the possibility of publishing works that are on a large scale, and that there is still room for them in libraries.
24 October 1854: [The stretta of this duet, from Gounod’s la Nonne sanglante] is not on the same level as the style of the rest of the work. It is a great surprise to find there a reflection of the familiar Parisian style.
3 May 1856: [Concerning Halévy’s Valentine d’Aubigny] There is nothing there that is banal, or flimsy, or Parisian, it is the music of a master.
24 September 1856: The repertory of older composers … is nevertheless rich in very fine works which would probably arouse great interest should they be revived … though only on condition that they are not re-orchestrated according to the current Parisian fashion, stuffed with trombones and bass drums.
31 May 1857: One may believe that the barbarous population of Paris would gradually become more civilised under the influence of these noble musical festivals, and that the bloated moral sense from which it suffers, which prevents it from appreciating the most delicate and purest aspects of art, would at last be cured by being immersed in beneficial harmony. But how far we still are from getting the Parisians to understand that there is a hundred times more musical value in the score of M. Deffès that was heard in Notre-Dame, than in his latest comic opera, whatever its intrinsic merits otherwise! […] In this respect Parisians are like Frenchmen from the provinces; anything more or less closely connected with the theatre inspires in them a kind of superstitious veneration, particularly with regard to music.
15 September 1858: [Concerning Reyer’s Sacountala] His orchestra is not the perpetual Parisian orchestra; one’s immediate reaction on hearing it is that here at last is a different orchestra. This is not official orchestration; the various instrumental timbres are ingeniously blended together, percussion instruments are not instruments of persecution and do not pierce your ear-drums.
8 November 1858: Besides, why did the singer think it appropriate to make a long pause on the penultimate note of the last phrase? Presumably to provoke applause, in conformity with banal practice, following the vulgar Parisian method.
9 December 1859: [Concerning Mlle Wertheimber] Her voice is beautiful and expressive, and deployed with an artistry that is not disfigured by the detestable habits of the vulgar Parisian style of singing.
26 June 1860: In Paris the only asset we have are the Musard concerts at the Champs-Elysées. There every evening, when weather permits, a very fine orchestra of 80 players performs with as much ensemble as verve first a quantity of quadrilles — this goes without saying, the quadrille is the daily bread of Parisians — but also important symphonic excerpts, brilliant overtures, and fantasies where highly skilled players often show off their talent.
13 February 1861: [Concerning Auber’s la Circassienne] His style has never been more lively, more alert, more elegant or more graceful. And how he knows his Parisians! How he knows how to captivate them, sweep them away, and make them (the Parisians) believe that they do love music.
The evidence for Berlioz’s addresses is derived for the most part from his correspondence, though many letters do not carry an indication of address (for example Berlioz’s earliest Paris address in 1821-1822 [104 rue Saint-Jacques], is attested not from his letters but from the register of inscriptions for the doctorate of the École de Médecine). The Memoirs also provide some detail. References to Berlioz’s writings will be included as appropriate.
Through his long stay in Paris Berlioz changed his address frequently. But Berlioz’s domiciles in Paris are not as scattered as the multiplicity of addresses might suggest. They fall into broad groups following the main divisions in his life. In the early years (1822-1830, until his departure for Italy), he lived near the centre of Paris – first in the Quartier Latin on the rive gauche (rue Saint-Jacques, then rue de la Harpe), briefly in the Ile de la Cité (rue de Harlay), then near the centre on the rive droite (rue de Richelieu). On his return (1832) he initially resided in the same area on the rive droite. With his marriage to Harriet Smithson he then moved for a brief period to Montmartre (1834-6), but soon established himself (permanently from 1836) in the present IXth arrondissement, in the area near the Gare Saint-Lazare, where all his domiciles down to the time of his death are located. Several are in fact within close walking distance of each other (43 and 65 rue Blanche, 15 rue de la Rochefoucauld, 19 rue Boursault, 17 rue de Vintimille, 4 rue de Calais).
Through family inheritance Berlioz owned property in and around his native La Côte-Saint-André; on the other hand he was never in a position to contemplate owning property in the capital city, and throughout his career in Paris he had to live in rented accommodation, and was at the mercy of rising rents and what he could afford. This meant most of the time living away from the expensive centre of Paris, and having to be content with floors higher up the stairs (this is attested at least in the case of his flats in rue de Harlay, rue de Richelieu, rue de Vintimille and rue de Calais). Throughout his life, as he mentions in a letter of 1856 (CG no. 2125), his living conditions were cramped and he never had enough space to work in comfortably. Although he is known to have entertained visitors on many occasions (for example in Montmartre in 1834 and 1835: CG nos. 396, 397, 445, 469), he was probably not in a position to have friends stay overnight. When for example Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein visited Paris in October 1859, there was no question of her staying with Berlioz, and it is not clear that she even visited him in the flat at rue de Calais. Even providing accommodation for his son Louis in the 1850s and 1860s caused Berlioz difficulties (CG no. 2260). It is as well to bear in mind the material conditions in which Berlioz worked throughout his career and managed to achieve what he did.
A black asterisk (*) before an address indicates that the place is still extant, though it may have undergone modifications since the time of Berlioz.
*Paris in the early 1820s
104 rue Saint-Jacques (from November 1821 to late summer 1822) [no longer extant]
*71 rue Saint-Jacques (from November 1822 to some time in 1823?)
Hôtel Louis-le-Grand, rue Saint-Jacques (from 1823 to summer 1824?) [no longer extant]
79, rue Saint-Jacques (from autumn 1824 to spring-summer 1825) [no longer extant]
27 rue de Harlay (from spring-summer 1825 to August-early September 1826) [no longer extant]
58 rue de la Harpe (from early September 1826 until ca. April 1828)
*96 rue de Richelieu (from at least April 1828 until 30 December 1830)
[For the whole of 1831 and much of 1832 Berlioz was away from Paris as winner of the Prix de Rome]
1 rue Neuve Saint-Marc (from 7 November 1832 till at least June 1834) [no longer extant]
*British Embassy in Paris Marries Harriet Smithson on 3 October, with Liszt as one of the witnesses. The couple spent their honeymoon in a small country cottage in Vincennes near Paris.
10 rue Saint-Denis, Montmartre (from April to early October 1834) [no longer extant]
*34 rue de Londres (from October 1834 to May 1835) [probably extant only in part]
12 rue Saint-Denis, Montmartre (from May 1835 to November 1836) [no longer extant]
35 rue de Londres (from September 1836 to October 1837) [Berlioz continued to use his Montmartre address until November 1836] [no longer extant]
31 rue de Londres (from October 1837 to some time in 1844) *
From 1844 onwards Berlioz’s addresses in Paris become complicated, since he started to live with Marie Recio in her flat (41 rue de Provence) while his legal address remained the domicile where Harriet Smithson continued to live (43 then 65 rue Blanche). The two addresses are used by Berlioz in different letters, depending on the person to whom the letter is addressed.
41 rue de Provence (his effective address from at least October 1844 until April 1848) [this was Marie Recio’s address, where Berlioz started to stay some time earlier in 1844. Note: the present no. 41 rue de Provence is unlikely to be on the same site as the building in Berlioz’s time]
*43 rue Blanche (his legal address, where Harriet Smithson stayed from at least November 1844 to some time in 1847)
*65 rue Blanche (Harriet Smithson moved to this new address some time in 1847)
12 rue Saint-Vincent, Montmartre (Harriet Smithson moved to this address some time in 1848 where she died on 3rd March 1854) [no longer extant]
*15 rue de la Rochefoucauld (from July 1848 to the summer of 1849; Marie Recio and her mother had already moved there in late April 1848, and Berlioz joined them on his return from London in July 1848)
*19 rue de Boursault [now part of the rue La Bruyère] (from ca. August 1849 to April 1856)
*Cimetière Saint-Vincent (A small cemetery in Montmartre; Harriet Smithson was first buried here)
*17 rue de Vintimille (from April to October 1856)
*4 rue de Calais (from October 1856 until his death on 8 March 1869)
*Église de la Sainte-Trinité Berlioz died on 8 March and his funeral took place here on 11 March.
See also six contemporary obituaries on this site, including Ernest Reyer on Berlioz.
*Cimetière de Montmartre Berlioz is buried here.
See also The inauguration of Berlioz’s funeral monument, published in Le Monde Illustré, 19 March 1887.
*Square Berlioz A commemorative statue of Berlioz was unveiled here in a ceremony held on 17 October 1886 [the original statue is no longer extant].
See also Subscription in 1884 for a monument to Berlioz, Ernest Reyer’s speech at the inauguration ceremony, and other contemporary reports.
*The Panthéon Berlioz’s remains were scheduled to be moved here on 21 June 2003, but the project was subsequently cancelled.
*Rue Berlioz (a private street in the XVIth arrondissement)
A black asterisk (*) before a building indicates that it is still extant, though it may have undergone modifications since the time of Berlioz.
*Paris around 1820
*École de Médecine [Faculty of Medicine] Berlioz studied medicine here for two years.
Hospice de la Pitié Berlioz graphically describes in his Memoirs (Chapter 5) a dissection session here with one of his fellow medical students.
Paris Opéra Le Peletier [no longer extant] The Paris Opéra, like the Conservatoire, played a major part in Berlioz’s career from his earliest days in the capital city in November 1821, though ultimately an unhappy one.
*Paris Conservatoire The Conservatoire, its library, teachers, concert hall and orchestra, all played a major part in every aspect of Berlioz’s career from 1822 onwards.
See also The Misadventures of the Salle du Conservatoire by Pierre-René Serna.
*Théâtre de l’Odéon Attends many concerts/operas here including Weber’s Der Freischütz in 1825 (arranged by Castil-Blaze, "disguised" as Robin des bois).
In September 1827 he attends Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet, in which Harriet Smithson plays Ophelia and Juliet respectively.
*Église Saint-Roch Première of the Messe Solennelle on 10 July.
*Pont Neuf Frequently eats his frugal lunch here under the statue of Henry IV in student days.
Théâtre des Nouveautés Sings in the chorus in the evenings to make a living [no longer extant]
*Café Le Cardinal at the corner of the rue de Richelieu and the Boulevard des Italiens, frequented by Berlioz from an early date.
*Institut de France Berlioz writes his four Prix de Rome cantatas there in 1827-1830. After several attempts he is elected member of the Institut on 21 June 1856.
See also Institut de France — Chronology
*Église Saint-Eustache Second performance of the Messe Solennelle in 1827 (22 November), three performances of the Requiem in 1846 (20 August), 1850 (3 May) and 1852 (22 October), the première of Te Deum on 30 April 1855.
*Galerie Vivienne Berlioz leads a large crowd in the singing of the Marseillaise at the time of the July revolution.
*Saint-Louis des Invalides The Grande Messe des Morts (the Requiem) is premièred here on 5 December.
See also a review of the première of the Requiem, published in Le Charivari, 6 December 1837 (in French).
*Colonne de Juillet Berlioz ends his musical procession here, conducting the Symphonie Funèbre et Triomphale on 28 July as part of a ceremony in 1840 in honour of those who lost their lives in the 1830 revolution.
Salle Herz Première of the overture Le Carnaval romain on 3 February 1844 and of L’Enfance du Christ on 10 December 1854 [no longer extant]
Festival de l’Industrie Berlioz gives a large-scale concert on 1st August 1844 in the large hall that had been built on the Champs-Élysées for the Exhibition [no longer extant]
Cirque Olympique An enclosed hippodrome off the Champs-Élysées. Berlioz gives four large-scale concerts here between January and April 1845 [no longer extant]
See also A concert in January 1845 at the Cirque Olympique.
*Opéra-Comique, Salle Favart and Salle Feydeau The première of La Damnation de Faust takes place at the Salle Favart on 6 December [the two versions of the building that existed in Berlioz’s time are no longer extant]. On 25 February 1829 Berlioz’s overture Waverley is performed at the Salle Feydeau.
Salle Sainte-Cécile It was in this hall that Berlioz conducted most of the concerts which he gave with the Société Philharmonique which he founded early in 1850 [no longer extant]
See also La Société Philharmonique, 1850-1851: textes et documents (in French)
Le Palais de l’Industrie – Exposition Universelle 1855 Berlioz serves as juror; and then organises and conducts three ‘colossal’ concerts on 15, 16 and 24 November to mark the closing of the Exposition Universelle [no longer extant]
Palais des Tuileries Berlioz (with his second wife Marie) goes to the Emperor’s monthly parties to which members of the Institute are also invited [no longer extant]
1823 - 1863
*Salle Ventadour (Théâtre Italien) Attends many concerts and operas here as well as elsewhere to write reviews and notices as a music critic for various journals.
*Parc Monceau Berlioz goes for frequent walks in this park after it is opened to the public in 1861.
*Théâtre-Lyrique Impérial Acts 3-5 of Les Troyens (in a truncated form, under the title Les Troyens à Carthage) were first performed here (from 4 November until 20 December).
See also a review of the première of Les Troyens, published in Le Monde Illustré 14 November 1863 (in French).
*Jardin du Luxembourg Zacharie Astruc, the French sculptor and art critic, an admirer of Berlioz, included a mask of Berlioz in his Le Marchand de masques, which is located here.
The Hector Berlioz Website was created by Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin on 18
Berlioz in Paris pages created on 19 October 2000 (English version) and 20 October 2000 (French version). Both versions extensively reorganised on 24 December 2000; substantial additions made since; new version of this page on 15 June 2011.
© (unless otherwise stated) Monir Tayeb and Michel Austin for all the photos, engravings and information on Berlioz in Paris pages.
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