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)

Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier) Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating I did the after-hours tour, which takes you behind the scenes of the opera. The best time to attend as there is no one there, the tours are in small groups. I took the most amazing pictures with no one in it. The tours are guided in the language of your choice. Buy the ticket/s weeks in advance in order to get the date you desire. This is where Phantom of the Opera was inspired. You even get to visit inside balcony #5, a reference to the Phantom of the Opera book and play.
Edwin Linares - a month ago

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5 Star Rating Absolutely STUNNING venue. Well worth admission and a beautiful experience overall. Even while busy you can see tour very easily and have moments of quiet to really take in the opulence. I did not do the guided tour and could get most everywhere available except the seating at ground floor. The women's bathrooms had limited stalls so they were quite busy, but clean. The gift shop also had a wonderful selection of books and things for people of all ages. I absolutely recommend this attractions, even if you don't get the tickets ahead of time you make it in with moderate wait times and attentive staff that make the experience, an Experience~
Carlyle Smith - a month ago

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5 Star Rating What a magnificent building to visit! We enjoyed it even more than the Palace of Versailles. Although smaller, the decorative elements on the ceiling and walls exceeded our expectations. Every corner was adorned with the highest craftsmanship and finest European artisan techniques with lots of details, showcasing beautiful sculptures, paintings, and architecture that combined to present true European elegance!
Patrick Min - 2 months ago

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5 Star Rating The most beautiful opera house I've ever seen. The entry way and theater are spectacular. Don't miss the ceiling in the theater. One of the rooms was similar to the hall of mirrors at Versaille. We bought our tickets the day before online and had no problems finding a time.
Rebecca Nielsen - a month ago

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5 Star Rating We came on a Thursday and instead of paying 15 euro there was a 5 euro discount for some reason so we only paid 10 euro inside at the ticket machine. When we entered around 10am there was a good amount of people there already. The interior is just gorgeous. We spent a good 1.5 hours inside. So much to look at and so much detail. Not sure why but the main theatre didn’t open up until 11am.
Hi I Am - 3 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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