A SHAPESHIFTING ARENA
The iconic, creative, and daring Accor Arena has an open mind and a flexible layout. A look at past events hosted at the Accor Arena provides a journey through its many transformations, in an invitation to a new – and unexpected – kind of experience. Refurbished in 2015, the world’s fifth biggest Arena is still moving with the times. In the past: a pioneer. Today: an immersive venue. And in the future? Who knows what form its next transformation will take. We know one thing, though: that here, anything is possible!
The Main Event Hall has been reborn thousands of times, taking on a new identity every time: housing an impressive ski piste or supercross track, a giant playground graced by the world’s best basketballers or a temple to live performances by iconic stars, and even a windsurfing pool... And these are just some examples of what is possible herein. Want to see more?
Explore the Main Event Hall’s configurations
- Ice Rink
- Fashion Shows
- Horse Riding
Where to begin? At the beginning, perhaps? Ok, then! On 29 February 1984, the Scorpions played the inaugural gig that saw the major new arena burst onto the Parisian entertainment scene. An unforgettable show that would go down in the history of both the venue and the rock music scene. The big “plus” that made Madonna cross the Atlantic 21 times? The Arena’s phenomenal modularity and its huge variety of possible configurations. Lower Bowl, central stage, 360°… so many possibilities to get the audience singing along with David Bowie, wiggling their hips with Rihanna and bopping along with IAM!
Here’s a few highlights, in no particular order: 42 songs from The Cure, in a concert spanning more than 3.5 hours; the record for the most solo dates for Johnny Hallyday, at 93; Jeanne Mas, the first female French artist to sell out the venue; NTM, the first French rap group to fill a 17,000 capacity crowd; and in 2010, the Lady Gaga concert that sold out in just 60 seconds. Lend me your ears! Beautiful, memorable, joyful, and communal, the history of the Accor Arena can also be told in song.
Since 1986, the Accor Arena has been hosting the Rolex Paris Masters, one of the biggest indoor tennis tournaments. Every autumn, the world’s best tennis players demonstrate their brilliant talent inside the Arena, a venue that’s seen many new records set! Novak Djokovic holds the record for the most wins, and it was at the Arena that Nadal celebrated the 1000th win of his career at the 2020 tournament.Who can top that? The Parisian leg of the ATP Tour Masters 1000 delivers an enhanced experience on the court, with its iconic player entrance show that ratchets up the atmosphere for the game, the players, and the crowd. As soon as the players enter the player tunnel, the minutes leading up to the start of a match serve up a “pre-show” experience as the venue is plunged into darkness and music starts to play. The spectacle lets the crowd accompany the players from the tunnel and out onto the court, sharing some of the emotions they experience when they leave the locker room, from pre-match focus to on-court performance.
Can the Main Event Hall at the Accor Arena really hold 1000 cubic metres of water? Yes, it really can. A gigantic artificial pool some 71m long and 53m wide was set up inside the Arena in the heart of Paris, surrounded by 30 fans blowing an artificial wind of 50km/h. Amazing! The Arena, a bit of sport... and the sea! But what was it used for? The jet ski world championships, no less, as well as an indoor windsurfing competition with slalom, freestyle, and jump events. So who was out on the water? All of the greatest champions and legends in the aforementioned disciplines. Still have your doubts? Don’t take our word for it, listen to Robert Teriitehau, France’s three-time indoor windsurfing world champion: “I get more adrenaline than at the beach in California or Hawaii". And that’s saying something! Waterside, the audience on the stands got on board with the show and enjoyed an unbeatable close-up of the action.
The whole event lasted 12 days, no more, no less, and all inside a single venue: the Accor Arena! Atop a thick layer of ice, the Main Event Hall hosted the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2017. Indeed, the Arena is no stranger to battling hockey sticks. It has been home to the Français Volants ice hockey team ever since it first opened its doors in 1984, and has hosted a series of sporting events on ice: Arena on Ice, the annual finals of the Coupe de France ice hockey tournament, Stars on Ice, and the Lalique-Bompard figure skating competition back in the day. Guaranteed goosebumps in the crowd!
Ever seen the Main Event Hall turned into a ski resort? No? Well, it has been known to snow inside the Arena! On an artificial piste 100m long, a selection of the top names in snowsports came to carve up the powder at the Tam Tam Snow Show and Tam Tam Ski Show. Organised by the Olympic freestyle skiing champion, Edgar Grospiron, the two events turned the Accor Arena into a ski resort smack dab in the heart of Paris. And schuss! The many champions participating in the event lashed on their skis and snowboards and wowed the audience with an avalanche of prowess! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…
Imagine! The Main Event Hall transformed into a giant playground to host the most legendary global names in basketball: Magic Johnson, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tony Parker, Toni Kukoc, Kevin Love… the list goes on! So head to the bleachers to watch a match with a real block party vibe. The bounce of basketballs is always echoing around the Arena, which has hosted the iconic NBA All-Star Game since 2002, as well as prestigious French Basketball Federation tournaments and the NBA’s big Parisian comeback in January 2020. The Harlem Globetrotters? The team known for its spectacular tricks sets up home here every year.
The only European venue with the infrastructure to host NBA games, the Accor Arena can also count on the formidable expertise of its staff who work hard to put on a show worthy of Uncle Sam himself. And because the Arena is always looking for new ways to put on a show, it will host the Basketball competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. So there you go: an encounter with Michael Jordan isn’t as impossible as it seems!
Whether it is for an intimate or larger-than-life fashion show, a photoshoot, or filming session, the Accor Arena has served as a temple to the fashion gods, and epicentre of the world-renowned Paris Fashion Week. What’s it like when the Main Event Hall turns into a catwalk? A boxing ring for Lanvin, a spectacular American step-dancing show for Rick Owens, or a golden landfill heap for Alexander McQueen. This chameleon space inhabited by creative and daring waves has had the honour of getting the first look at collections from Koché, Kenzo and Off White, to name but a few. The glitterati is here! Solange Knowles, Karlie Kloss, Gigi and Bella Hadid... the most en vogue international models have graced the catwalk here, gazed upon in wonder by a privileged few.
Thinking big to change the world for a better future! This is the ambition of BPIfrance which, every year since 2015, has used the Accor Arena as the venue for an event that’s a one-of-a-kind in France: Bpifrance inno generation (BIG). The big annual get-together for entrepreneurs from France and around the world, BIG is Europe’s biggest business meeting.
BIG is a day to get inspired, a day to network and meet the most innovative European companies, and a day to mingle with entrepreneurs and iconic, inspiring figures. The Arena transforms and reinvents its inner spaces over the course of a packed programme of workshops, conferences, and events: the ice rink turns into a giant networking venue, the Main Stage becomes the “Bang” where the event’s Top Speakers have their say. A variety of conference, meeting, and networking spaces open up to celebrate and unite the current and future crop of entrepreneurial talent in France.
The Arena’s Main Event Hall is a place for singing, for playing, for dressing up, and for sending up. And all in a place that invites you to dream, to make-believe, and to laugh. It’s a place where you’ll find the biggest names in comedy one day, and the world’s finest acrobats the next! It’s a place where you can roar with laughter at Gad Elmaleh, Florence Foresti and Kev Adams, or be blown away by the tightrope walkers and acrobats of the Cirque du Soleil. And a high-capacity venue doesn’t mean you’ll need binoculars to see the action: the surprising thing about the Accor Arena is just how close the audience is to the performers. Do we like to be a bit different? A little bit more every time! To hear the blissful “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” of the audience as they watch a jolly and entertaining show in a strangely welcoming atmosphere. Just so we can feel a bit like we’re in the world’s biggest circus tent...
The smell of straw, the fragrance of time-worn leather, the earthy aroma of damp soil... No, you aren’t in the Camargue or Andalusia, but right in the heart of Paris, at the Accor Arena! When the Main Event Hall echoes with the sound of hooves, the Arena proves to be an adept horse-whisperer as it serves up sumptuous equestrian ballets. From the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final and the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, to the fine spectacle of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, the worlds greatest riders and their legendary mounts have all performed beneath the lights of the Arena. Their feet in their stirrups, the horsemen and women gallop along and make their horses dance in a grandiose show where their mounts are the real stars. The audience love a bit of horseplay! Some of the finest moments in equestrian sport have happened here: the amazing Jappeloup the show jumping champion; performances by Fritz Ligges and Nelson Pessoa; the moving farewell from Robert Whitaker.