The ‘notice préliminaire’ to L.-H. Lecomte's unfinished Histoire des théâtres de Paris includes a list of eighteen major fires occurring between 1789 and 1900, each of which resulted in the total destruction of a theatre. The date of each disaster is given, as also the date at which the theatre was rebuilt, either on the same site or in a new location. But beyond these brief particulars, Lecomte gives little information on the circumstances and none at all on the probable causes of each catastrophe and the precautions taken subsequently to avert a recurrence. It is the purpose of this paper to flesh out the bare bones of Lecomte's statistics, and to extend the picture to embrace similar disasters befalling provincial playhouses in France over the same period. There had of course been spectacular fires before the Revolution at Paris theatres, notably that which destroyed the opera house located in the Palais-Royal on 6 April 1763 (incidentally severely damaging the palace itself), although, since it occurred during the Easter break, the theatre was fortunately empty at the time. The Opera was eventually rehoused on the same site, but on 8 June 1781 the building once more went up in flames and was reduced to a pile of smouldering rubble. Again there were no victims among the spectators, since it was only when they had left after the evening's performance that the fire broke out; but many of the dancers were still changing into their outdoor clothes at the time and two of them failed to follow the example of the others and make their escape across the roof and down to the street. A total of a dozen or fifteen people perished as a result of this fire, including one elderly woman living in the Cour des Fontaines who died of shock at witnessing the fearsome spectacle.