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
Official Website: Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)Fee: Yes - Free with the Paris Pass.
- Monday: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
- Saturday: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Category: Landmarks & Historical Buildings Opera & Ballet
8 rue Scribe
Phone: +33 1 71 25 24 23
Michael S. Feb-20-2019
I love the smell of gold in the morning. We started our day at Palais Garnier ... and it couldn't of been grander ... or golder. Sure, go to the most... Read More
Stacy P. Dec-30-2018
I stopped in on my last day in Paris to see if I could snag a last minute ticket for the guided tour, and wasn't disappointed. The tour started shortly... Read More
Xiao Z. Dec-24-2018
The opera house is simply a sight to behold, both inside and out. I recommend the audio tour and no need to spend extra money for a guided tour. My wife... Read More
Accommodations near 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).
Map & Instant Route Finder
Click&Go Map and Route Finder with public transit, walking, driving or cycling directions. Get up-to-the-minute transit times for your route.