Palais Garnier is an opera house that was built to seat 1,979 guests. Construction started in 1861 and finished 14 years later in 1875. Originally called the Salle des Capucines, it was renamed Palais Garnier to celebrate its grandeur and its architect, Charles Garnier. Today it is mainly used to host ballet productions and is no longer the primary home of the Paris Opera since the Opera Bastille opened in 1989 with the ability to seat 2,700 guests.
Palais Garnier was the scene for the famous screenplay, The Phantom of the Opera, which was originally written by Gaston Leroux and later adapted to a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986. This fact alone makes the Palais Garnier worth seeing if you have any love of opera and the stage.
Palais Garnier was commissioned as part of the reconstruction of Paris that was initiated by Emperor Napoleon III. The actual design of the opera house was created by Charles Garnier who won the architectural competition on May 29th 1861. The competition was in two phases. The first phase was out of 171 applicants which Charles won 5th place in narrowly becoming one of the 5 finalist competing for the second phase. In the second phase he improved greatly to first place while the winner of the first competition did worse. Charles Garnier's design was chosen for being the best and most simplistic, clear, logical and grandeur thanks to all the unique and superior qualities presented in his plans for the beautiful opera house. Garnier had to design a double foundation to accommodate the basement area because the ground water levels on the site were too high to allow the site to drain properly. This high level of ground water brought about a legend that the Palais Garnier was built on an underground lake, a concept used by Gaston Leroux in his novel and screenplay.
Palais Garnier is home to the world famous crystal and bronze chandelier that hangs in the centre or the Opera House. This massive chandelier's weight of seven tons and cost 30,000 gold francs. In 1896 one of the counterweights for the chandelier fell killing one of the workers. This very unfortunate accident was the result of the inspiration that Gaston Leroux used in his famous novel the Phantom of the Opera.
It took until 2011 for a restaurant to open and operate successfully in the Palais Garnier. Three previous attempts failed. The Palace didn't even have electricity installed until 1969. A restoration project was started in 1994 and only completed in 2007.
There has never been an opera house as extravagant and opulent as the Palais Garnier. Walking into the entrance hall and being confronted with the Grand Staircase made from solid white Italian marble is enough to astound even the most affluent visitors.
Nearby attraction: Musee Grevin
Facts For Your VisitFee: Yes - Free with the Paris Pass.
Address: 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France
Phone: 01 71 25 24 23
Official Website: Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)
|Metro / RER Line||Nearest Station||Walking Time|
|M3, 7 or 8||Opera||1 minute|
|M9||Chaussée d'Antin - La Fayette Station||2 minutes|
|M12 or 14||Madeleine||9 minutes|
|RER A||Auber||3 minutes|
How to get to Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier) by Metro / RER
By Metro: Exiting Metro Line 3, 7 or 8 at Opera Station places you directly in front of Palais Garnier. From Metro Line 9 exit at Chaussée d'Antin - La Fayette and walk south on Rue Haievy to the entrance. From Metro Line 12 or 14 take the Place de la Madeleine exit from Madeleine Station Madeleine and walk straight ahead on Place de la Madeleine to Boulevard de la Madeleine and go left. Continue straight to the entrance of the Opera House.
By RER: Take the RER A to Auber Station; exit and go left along Rue Auber to the entrance (3 minutes).
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Ratedout of 5
As a classical music lover, the Garnier is one of the top sites of Paris for me. The palace is grandeur and beautiful inside and out. The guided tour is well worthwhile. The regret I have is that I was not able to catch a live performance here. The gift shop offers an extensive collections of recorded materials and books.
Jeff Lu - 15 days ago
Really enjoyed visiting this place. The sculptures are just so refined! I wished I had time to have the tour guides to get more info about the place though. Better book in advance if possible. There was no queue
a bc - 28 days ago
One of the iconic sights in Paris, and in my opinion - one of the most mesmerizing structures in the world. Whether you’re looking for a touristic sightseeing during the day (€12), to discover the magnificent grand staircase or the famous Chagall ceiling; or a part of an upscale opera/dance audience (€30-€250), Palais Garnier is a “do not miss” spot on the city of lights’ map for anyone visiting this amazing city. Note: visitors’ entrance is on the back of the building, not through the front gates.
Guy Gisser - 1 month ago
This is by far the most beautiful opera house we have ever visited. Me and my fiancee went to a show here during Christmas time and it was a magical experience. The entire building is just stunning, especially with one of their halls decorated for the holiday season. Tickets were also reasonably priced and we greatly enjoyed having one of the upper side boxes. We also lucked out that no one else bought tickets in our booth so we had the whole area to ourselves!
Troy Ferrell - 1 month ago
The theatre is incredible. Beautiful architecture. Definitely worth seeing. We paid extra for nice seats that were not cheap. I got stuck behind a guy with a big head. Spent the whole time leaning to the right to see the performance. Our seats were in the first balcony straight in front of the stage 3rd row. Looking down towards the stage with a big person in front doesn't work. Performance was very good. 5 stars if I could have seen the stage.
SteveSmith - 2 months ago