The Opera de Paris is a glittering, elegant theater in the heart of the city. Also known as the Palais Garnier, the opera house opened in 1875 after being built at the request of Napoleon III. Architect Charles Garnier used a bold design that mirrored the flamboyant tastes of patrons of the arts. Today, the Opera de Paris is considered to be one of the most beautiful theaters in the world.
Not a fan of opera? I’m not, and that’s probably why I skipped this on previous visits to Paris. On our last trip, we met an American family who named this their favorite highlight of their week in the city. So we made our way here on a sunny morning, and we were so glad we did! You can tour the theater and bask in the opulence. You can glide down the grand staircase. You can lean over the balconies and imagine the crowds that have filled this hall for more than a century.
Here are some reasons to include the Opera de Paris in your city itinerary.
The Grand Staircase
The marble in a variety of colors, the curving lines, and the sculptures holding “bouquets of light” make this quite a stunning staircase.
Plush red seats face the large stage. Individual boxes include number 5 – made famous in the Phantom of the Opera. Some people come to the tour just to see this box.
The Famous Ceiling
The ceiling in the auditorium contains a painting by Marc Chagall, added in 1964. It’s a beauty.
The Salon du Glacier
The Grand Foyer
The gold shines so brightly here. Mirrors and windows add light and depth. The theme of this room – and the Opera de Paris – is the lyre. Look for lyres in other places throughout the tour, such as window grates and doorknobs.
Gallery of the Orchestra
If you go:
The Opera de Paris is open every day from 10:00 to 5:00. Check the website for special closed times due to performances.
Admission: Ages 12 to 25: 8 Euro; ages 26 and up: 12 Euro
Take the Metro Opera Station, lines 3, 7, and 8
Tickets are available at the door and online. Pick up an audio guide in your language to fully experience the theater.
How about you? Have you found a surprising place you enjoyed after almost passing by it?