In 1876, the director of the Théȃtre des Folies-Dramatiques, Louis Cantin, hired Planquette to compose the operetta, which had originally been intended for Hervé. Despite initially mixed reviews, it became probably the most popular French operetta of all time, with hit productions in London and elsewhere.
Les cloches de Corneville was Planquette's first full operetta score and has been praised for its fine melodies, rhythmic variety, good choral writing and complex orchestral colour.
Les cloches de Corneville was first produced in Paris at the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques, opening on April 19, 1877, and ran for 408 performances.
The work remained popular thereafter; it was translated into several languages and enjoyed numerous productions worldwide.