The Beatles live: Cinéma Cyrano, Versailles

Ahead of their 18-day season at the Paris Olympia, The Beatles played a warm-up show at the Cinéma Cyrano, 7 Rue Rameau, in Versailles.

In the early afternoon The Beatles walked down the Champs-Élysées with members of the British press. A number of sightseers spotted them, and the group soon retreated back to the George V hotel.

Ringo Starr caught the 5pm flight from London Airport, where he had been persuaded by staff from British European Airlines to pose for a photograph, holding up a ‘TLES’ sign next to their BEA logo.

The Beatles backstage in Versailles, France, 15 January 1964

All nine acts due to appear at the Olympia performed at the evening’s concert at the Cyrano, in front of an audience of 2,000. Along with The Beatles, the other main acts were French chanteuse Sylvie Vartan and American singer Trini Lopez.

The entertainment began at 9pm and finished after midnight. The Beatles’ fans were predominantly male, and there was noticeably less screaming than the group were used to – allowing them to hear their instruments more clearly than usual.

On our first night in Paris we went at George’s suggestion to a night-club, specifically to supply the populist London dailies with that hint of ‘ooh, là, là’ their readers were presumed to expect from Frenchness. Next morning we climbed the Eiffel Tower, Harry Benson and I with George Harrison and Bill Corbet, The Beatles’ chauffeur, and thoroughly enjoyed the climb, the air and ultimately the view. For George it was good to be out among people without being jostled or bombarded with jelly beans/babies; though Harry and I, for our part, would have welcomed un mobbing. I thought it was quite exciting but according to both Hunter Davies (The Beatles) and Philip Norman (Shout!), the French were withdrawn in their response. It is true that Paris did not respond with the warmth of ‘traditional Beatlemania’; but the, she has never loved any group the way she loves les Stones. Certainly the Versailles concert was a huge success, as I relayed in High Crazed prose of majestic sweep.
Derek Taylor
Fifty Years Adrift
Last updated: 24 January 2024
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