The second city of a country known for its love of the performing arts, Lyon is always alive with concerts, plays, operas and recitals.

The most famous performance venue in the city, the Célestins Theater has garnered rave reviews for two centuries for both its programs and its regal atmosphere. Located at the heart of the Presqu’île, the Célestins still represents the pinnacle of the dramatic arts in the city, though the nearby Croix-Rousse Theater is also quite popular.

The Lyon National Orchestra, directed by David Robertson, plays at the Lyon Auditorium, a massive building constructed in 1975 and recognizable for its seashell silhouette. Though the orchestra is excellent, if classical music isn’t your thing the Auditorium is a center for all types of music, from jazz to world, and the venue hosts more than 100 concerts yearly.

The city’s Opéra Nouvel, a striking marriage of old-world Italian architecture to modern glass and steel (the building was initially constructed in 1831, then given a complete facelift in 1985), is the home of Opéra National de Lyon, Lyon Opera Ballet Company and the Opera House Orchestra, all among France’s best. Even if you aren’t fanatical about opera, the opera house merits a visit.

For a more complete picture of what’s happening in the city during your time there, grab a copy of Lyon-Poche, a guide to all the cultural events and concerts published weekly and available at any newsstand, or Le Petit Bulletin, that is a free cultural newspaper (also published weekly).