Paris Opera House
(Palais Garnier)

There has never been an opera house as extravagant and opulent as the Palais Garnier

Magnificent front facade of the Palais Garnier
Magnificent front facade of the Palais Garnier cc licensed photo by Peter Rivera

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 Visit

Fee: Yes.

Address: Pl. de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France

Phone: 01 40 07 00 43

Official Website: Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)


Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating Really loved the guided tour! It was very informative and entertaining. Lasting about 1.5 hours, it was never boring; we were also allowed inside. We had the English tour. Although it was really busy at the time at the building, thanks to the tour, we were able to see the entire building and learn a lot about its history. I recommend reserving tickets via the website! At the entrance waiting for the guided tour to start there is no toilet, that was the only downside.
Vincent - a month ago

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4 Star Rating This iconic opera house is a must-see when visiting Paris. Its ornamental architecture and grandeur are breathtaking, with a gleaming interior that will leave you in awe. Its monumental size and beauty are a testament to the city's cultural history. A must-see for any traveler! But language is a barrier here, very few staff members understand or speak English
Narender Kumar - a month ago

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5 Star Rating What a history and what an architecture. Highly recommend taking the audio guide and going through every detail, it will change your experience on the opera house. Very room, every detail is thought for and designed with according to that time. It gets packed so you will have to very patient when clicking pictures, add extra time for that. We spent 2.5 hours.
Pranay Devgan - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating Definitely would put this place on the must visit list. It is so beautiful and grand. It's very busy and tons of people doing outfit changes and taking up space to take the perfect social media photo which could be annoying and funny at the same time. There's a bar in the beautiful hall where the balcony is and we had some champagne. Overall, amazing visit!
Los Notes - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating I had never been here. I was amazed at the workmanship that went into every detail of this beautiful opera house. Go early and get a front of line pass because there are very long lines. We spent an hour and a half but could have stayed longer. It's a must-see and very reasonably priced. It's across from the Lafayette mall, which is just stunning.
Alicia Adamson - 2 months ago

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Metro / RER Line Nearest Station Walking Time
M3, 7 or 8Opera1 minute
M9Chaussée d'Antin - La Fayette Station2 minutes
M12 or 14Madeleine9 minutes
RER AAuber 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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