European Concert Halls in Paris & Hamburg
A concert hall or opera house is often a city’s most striking architectural feature. Recently, in Europe, two spectacular new concert halls have opened, and each is worth visiting to view from both the outside and inside. No musical tour is complete without a visit to the local music hall.
La Seine Musicale
Perched on the water, on the edge of the Île Seguin, the newly opened concert hall La Seine Musicale, is an extraordinary structure. In the west of Paris, it is part of a larger project to further improve the cultural life of the district. Under construction since 2014, the structure of glass and steel resembles an egg, being engulfed by a wave made from the same material. It includes a 1,150 seat classical music auditorium and a 6,000 seat pop and rock venue.
The venue is particularly striking for its contemporary look, in a city of grand and venerable music halls, and ancient churches. It competes with the Palais Garnier, the famous Olympia Hall, and the striking Philharmonie de Paris (which opened in 2015), to name a few.
La Seine Musicale will play host to a wide range of events across genres. On April 21, Bob Dylan played the inaugural concert as part of his Never Ending Tour. And performances are scheduled for West Side Story, Herbie Hancock, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
In Hamburg, the brand new Elbphilharmonie Hall sits on the harbour atop a brick warehouse. It towers over the water, and is topped with a sparkling white-tiled roof shaped made of many concave scoops. The inside is equally spectacular, and you needn’t take my word for it, the website offers a drone-guided video tour! We hope to visit the Hall on our visit to Hamburg, as part of Odyssey’s European Ballet Tour.
Odyssey’s Music and Performing Arts Tour takes in Vienna, Munich, Paris, London, and New York. We enjoy performances at concert halls such as The Met, The Barbican, and much more. If you’d like to find out more about this tour, click here!
European Cultural Centres
Two major cultural centres have also recently opened in France.
The LUMA Arles, a 27-acre interdisciplinary creative campus on a former industrial site, launched in 2013 in the city of Arles. The site consists of a tower designed by architect Frank Gehry (famous for the Guggenheims in Biboa and Los Angeles) and seven 19th century industrial factories repurposed for presentations, installations, exhibitions, and artists’ residences. The 56-meter-tall tower is the centrepiece, designed with a twisted façade decorated with stainless steel bricks around a concrete core. It houses exhibition galleries, project spaces, research and archive facilities, workshop and seminar rooms and a café. Annual exhibitions by major artists are hosted across the tower’s 12 levels.
Frank Gehry is also responsible for the design of an art important museum and cultural centre in Paris – the building of the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Inspired by traditional 19th-century glass-and-steel greenhouse architecture, the building is characterized by twelve large glass-and-steel ‘sails’ enveloping a core of white blocks made in white concrete known as ‘the icebergs’. The Fondation Louis Vuitton organizes two temporary exhibitions each year that present modern and contemporary art with an international perspective.
European Art Tours
At Odyssey Traveller we provide a wide range of European tours, including a unique collection of itineraries related to classic and contemporary art including:
- Caravaggio’s Journey (Italy)
- Renaissance Italy Tour
- Art and History of Italy Small Group Tour
- Western European Art Tour
- Discovering the Art and Literature of England
- Scandinavian Design Small Group Tour
Odyssey Traveller has been serving world travellers since 1983. All tours provide an authentic and culturally informed travel experience, that goes beyond the usual tourist sites in favour of drawing out the hidden histories of our destinations. Our tours are all-inclusive, encompassing accommodation, attraction entries, and transport. For more information, click here, and head to this page to make a booking.
Originally published April 24, 2017.
Updated on August 31, 2021.