Palais des Fêtes

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Palais des Fêtes
Strasbourg Palais des Fêtes façade 1903 avant restauration.jpg
Façade on rue Sellénick seen in 2015
Palais des Fêtes is located in Strasbourg
Palais des Fêtes
Location of Palais des Fêtes in Strasbourg
Former namesSängerhaus
General information
TypePerformance venue
Architectural styleArt Nouveau, Beaux-Arts
LocationStrasbourg, France
Address5 rue Sellénick, 67000 Strasbourg
Coordinates48°35′27″N 7°44′57″E / 48.59083°N 7.74917°E / 48.59083; 7.74917Coordinates: 48°35′27″N 7°44′57″E / 48.59083°N 7.74917°E / 48.59083; 7.74917
Construction started1900
Completed1903; 1921
Inaugurated31 January 1903
OwnerCity of Strasbourg
Design and construction
ArchitectJoseph Müller
Richard Kuder [de]
Paul Dopff

The Palais des Fêtes (Festival Palace) is a music venue in the Neustadt district of Strasbourg, in the French department of the Bas-Rhin. Built for the male choral society of Strasbourg (German: Strassburger Männergesangverein)[N 1] in 1903, it has served as the principal concert hall of the city and home to the Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg until 1975, it has been classified as a Monument historique since 2007.[1]

Well known conductors such as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Charles Munch,[2] Bruno Walter,[3] Wilhelm Furtwängler,[4] Herbert von Karajan,[5] Karel Ančerl,[6] Pierre Boulez[7] and Lorin Maazel,[8] among others, have all conducted guest concerts in the Palais.


The concert hall in 1909 prior to the inauguration of the pipe organ
The concert hall, looking in the opposite direction, circa 1905/1910

The Palais des Fêtes was built as the Sängerhaus (singer's house) between 1901 and 1903, when Strasbourg was a German city and the capital of Alsace-Lorraine. It was one of the first buildings in Strasbourg to make use of reinforced concrete. Although the architects Joseph Müller (1863–??) and Richard Kuder [de] (1852–1912) chose an Art Nouveau style for the building, the main auditorium (with a capacity of 1,080 seats)[N 2] was decorated in a lavish Neo-Baroque style. The building also included a restaurant large enough to accommodate up to 300 guests; the inauguration concert took place on 31 January 1903. In 1904, the premises were already considered too small and a new story was added on the current rue de Phalsbourg, including a rehearsal room now called Salle Balanchine.[9] A pipe organ was installed in the main hall in 1909. A work by builders Dalstein & Hærpfer [de], it was designed, like several other pipe organs in Strasbourg (for instance the choir pipe organ of Saint-Thomas church), according to principles by Albert Schweitzer.[10]

Plans to further expand the size and capacity of the Sängerhaus by adding a new wing at the rear were set up shortly before World War I. Strasbourg was again a French city when work was finally conducted. Architect Paul Dopff (1885–1965) added a wing in a more severe style, closer to Beaux-Arts architecture, in 1921; that wing was centred around a great room for choir rehearsals called Salle de la Marseillaise.[11]

The inner decoration of the main auditorium was completely modified in 1933 according to principles of New Objectivity; the stucco and chandeliers were all removed,[9] the organ case lost most of its ornaments. The other parts of the building mostly retained their Art Nouveau decoration and elements, including stained glass and door handles.[12]

During World War II, the basement of the Palais served as an air-raid shelter. Although Strasbourg was bombed several times in 1944, the Palais was not hit.[9]

Since the Orchestre philharmonique moved out of the Palais des Fêtes and into the Palais de la musique et des congrès in 1975, the 1903 venue has still served for concerts, but less frequently, it is still home to La Philharmonie, a medium-sized semi-professional orchestra founded in 1900 that performs three times a year,[13] and occasionally hosts jazz, rock, gospel and other non-classical music genres. The Marseillaise wing is home to the municipal ballet school (French: Centre chorégraphique de Strasbourg);[14] the Sängerhaus wing also regularly hosts conventions such as the anime convention ″Japan Addict".[15][16][17]

The Palais des Fêtes is undergoing restoration since 2011 and until 2021; the concert hall is expected to be ready in December 2019 and an inaugural symphonic concert is scheduled for 31 January 2020.[18][19] Restoration began with the Marseillaise wing, whose central courtyard was covered with a glass roof in order to create an atrium.[9][20][21] Remains of the Neo-Baroque vault ornaments from 1903 were unexpectedly rediscovered in 2018.[22]


The main entrance to the Palais is on rue Sellénick, a street created in 1888 (original name: Julianstraße);[23] the entrance to the rear wing is on boulevard Clémenceau, a street created in 1881 (original name: Steinring).[24] The whole complex takes up half of the square block delimited (clockwise) by boulevard Clémenceau, rue Specklin, rue Sellénick, and rue de Phalsbourg, it does not, however, stand out in height from its immediate surroundings. The only conspicuous element is the octagonal tower at the corner of rues Sellénick and de Phalsbourg, structurally (but not stylistically) close to the tower of the Mulhouse courthouse (French: tribunal d'instance) designed by the same two architects and inaugurated in 1902.[25]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Founded in 1872. Not to be confused with the Straßburger Männergesangsverein of Straßburg, Austria, founded in 1892.
  2. ^ Although several sources claim that the hall could accommodate an audience of up to 1,500 or even 1,700 people, it is best to stick with the precise figure of 1,080 that was given by the municipality of Strasbourg in 2013 and can be seen here. Due to the configuration of the auditorium, the higher figures most certainly relate to standing, not sitting, audiences.


  1. ^ "Palais des Fêtes". French Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  2. ^ "Palais des fêtes". Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  3. ^ "Orchestre Philharmonique de Vienne sous la direction de Bruno Walter; Palais des Fêtes, Strasbourg... 24 avril 1934..." Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  4. ^ "Les Concerts". Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  5. ^ "Die Herbert von Karajan Archiv-Datenbank". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  6. ^ "Palais des Fêtes, Strasbourg, 10 May 1967". Cite web requires |website= (help)
  7. ^ "Pierre Boulez : Cummings ist der Dichter. Chœur (4 voix), orchestre". Retrieved 10 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  8. ^ "Orchestre national de la RTF : concert donné le 18 juin 1961". Retrieved 1 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  9. ^ a b c d "Palais des Fêtes – 5 rue Sellénick". Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  10. ^ "Strasbourg, Palais des fêtes". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Cite web requires |website= (help)
  11. ^ "Aile "Marseillaise" – 34 boulevard Clémenceau". Retrieved 30 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  12. ^ "Palais des fêtes". Art Nouveau around the world. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Présentation de l'orchestre". Retrieved 5 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  14. ^ "Présentation". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  15. ^ "19e Japan Addict, Strasbourg regarde vers le soleil levant". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  16. ^ "Diaporama : entre soi à la Japan Addict". rue89.strasbourg. Retrieved 1 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  17. ^ "14ème édition de la Japan addict ce week-end". rue89.streasbourg. Retrieved 1 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  18. ^ "Strasbourg: Le Palais des fêtes est toujours en travaux". Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Strasbourg: voilà à quoi va ressembler le Palais des Fêtes après sa rénovation". France3 Grand Est. Retrieved 6 May 2019. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  20. ^ "Strasbourg : le chantier du Palais des fêtes avance". France 3 Alsace. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  21. ^ "Strasbourg: Le palais des fêtes prend la lumière". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  22. ^ Barbe, Judith. "Une fresque de 1903 découverte au Palais des Fêtes". Rue89 Strasbourg. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  23. ^ "Rue Sellénick". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  24. ^ "Boulevard Clémenceau". Retrieved 31 October 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  25. ^ "Tribunal d'instance". Retrieved 1 November 2015. Cite web requires |website= (help)

External links[edit]