Palais Garnier, symbolizes Paris as the most popular opera house in the world for performing art & architectural skill where musical festivities were held.
As your paris holiday travel is incomplete without visit Lourve or the Eiffel Tower as not attending a performance at the Palais Garnier is also a incomplete cultural tour, often referred to as the Opera Garnier or the old Paris Opera House. In Paris there are two opera houses, the Opéra Bastille and the Palais Garnier Opera House, also known as the Opéra Garnier or the Opéra de Paris. In most cases Palais Garnier’s own ballet company performs. Seating 2,200 people, the imposing Opera Garnier in Paris — also known as the Palais Garnier or simply the Paris Opera– is an architectural treasure and essential spot for the city’s ballet and classical music scene. Designed by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875 as the Academie Nationale de Musique -Theatre de l’Opera (National Academy of Music – Opera Theater), the neo-baroque style Opera Garnier is now the home of the Paris ballet.
The project for an opera house was put out to competition and was won by Charles Garnier, an unknown 35-year-old architect. Building work, which lasted fifteen years, from 1860 to 1875, was interrupted by numerous incidents, including the 1870 war, the fall of the Empire and the Commune. The Palais Garnier was inaugurated on January 5th, 1875.
The Palais Garnier is an architecturally unique building in Paris. Typically Beaux Art, it boasts Baroque, Classical and Hausmann influences. However, not only the façade with bronze figures of Apollo and Pegasus are stunning, the interior is as equally as beautiful. Upon entering the opera house you will see a 30-metre high grand staircase built in marble of different colours, adorned with various golden cherubs. The Grand Foyer of Palais Garnier is equally extravagant with velvet, gold leaf and beautiful chandeliers complete with luxury furnishings. It could even be compared to Chateau Versailles in Paris. Another highlight is the performance hall
which can accommodate over 2,000 spectators. It is complete in red and gold and the dome was painted by Marc Chagall. Vivid colours have been used in this ceiling painting depicting different ballet and opera scenes. Amongst the many other beautiful things to see in the Palais Garnier, it has a museum-library featuring a collection allowing you to discover 300 years of the history of opera.
Even though the building has a seating capacity of less than 2,200, the building is one of the largest theatres in the world by acreage. It is 172 meter long, 125 meter wide and reaches a height of 73,6 meter (564 x 410 x 241 ft). The facade is decorated with rose marble columns, friezes, sculpture groups and two large gilded statues.
The interior of the Opéra Garnier building is even more impressive than its exterior. The marble Grand Staircase has a height of 30m/98ft! The 54m long Grand Foyer features a mosaic covered ceiling and a large number of chandeliers. It is so luxurious that it can be compared with the corridors in Versailles.
Tourist attractions and places to visit
The Opera Garnier is located in Paris’s relatively central 9th arrondissement, more or less directly north of the Tuileries Gardens and the adjoining Louvre Museum. It’s also one of the crowning attractions of the Opera-Haussmann neighborhood, one of Paris’s most coveted shopping districts and the hub of major department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
It is a place that must be visited. Typical of the Napoleon era, the Palais Garnier contains numerous points of interest. On its exterior, for example, it exhibits several sculptures on its main façade including two groups in gilded bronze located on top of the building. Inside, visitors discover a vast nave sheltering a double spiral white marble staircase. A meeting place for the life of society, this is where the high members of Parisian society once came together to socialise!
- The sculptures on the main façade and those in gilded bronze adorning the top of the building;
- The grand marble staircase and its nave;
- The grand foyer and its drawing rooms, inspired by the decor of 16th and 17th century châteaux;
- The auditorium divided into five levels and its huge crystal chandelier.
Ticket prices for ballet and other performances vary. To consult current and upcoming performances at the Opera Garnier and book tickets in English, consult this website.
Ticket prices: Category 1 590, Category 2 470, Category 3 315, Category 4 210, Category 5 130, Category 6 60
Address: 1, place de l’Opera, 9th arrondissement
Metro: Opera, Pyramides or Havre-Caumartin
Telephone: +33 (0)1 40 01 80 52