Self-Guided Visit to Opera Garnier
- Valid: 1 day
Charles Garnier created an opulent cathedral for the bourgeois when his opera house was finished in 1875, and it quickly became about more than just the performances. Here's how the architect made being seen as important as the seeing itself!
Napoleon III wanted Paris' archaic streets to reflect the glory of the French Empire. To do this, he hired Baron Haussmann to tear much of the city down and rebuild from scratch.
After surviving an assassination attempt outside the previous opera house, Napoleon III announced a competition to design one for Paris' new, less-secluded streets.
In creating such a spectacular foyer, adorned with marble, mosaics, and chandeliers, Garnier was setting aside as much space for socializing as for the performances themselves!
While the simplistic yet grandiose design was commended, few knew for what style it was aiming. When the Empress Eugénie asked, Garnier replied, "Why Ma'am, in Napoleon Trois!"
The cupola that crowns the opera house is a "false dome." It covers another, the space between which can retract the grand 7-ton chandelier hanging over the auditorium!
The Palais Garnier is open for visitors to wander around or take a tour from 10:00AM to 5:00PM most days. Due to performances and rehearsals, however, some access may be limited. You can check for exceptional closure information at visitepalaisgarnier.fr.
The Palais Garnier is located outside the Metro stop Opéra on lines 3, 7, and 8. It can also be reached via numerous bus routes: 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81, and 95.
Want to discover all there is to do in Palais Garnier? Click here for a full list.
Our kids had a blast. Maybe the funnest thing we did during our entire trip to Paris. Romain, Louie, and our third guide were great guys. Very friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. We saw neighborhoods, churches, gardens, and points of interest. We felt safe the entire time. We did have a small mixup on scheduling, but made it happen the next day and were so glad we did.
It was a great experience. Our guide was very enthusiastic asking lots of questions and keeping the kids engaged throughout. She speaks in French but made the extra effort to say a few things in English to our son who doesn’t understand French. We also learned a few things and got to see all the attractions.
i love photography and having the freedom to stop and go as i pleased when taking pictures of this institution was a pure privilege. checking in smooth. in all, great visit!
Magical lovely and inspiring perfect place to visit. Get the audio guide with iPad tablet really makes the experience valuable
Very good tour. Guide had good knowledge about the history and the building itself. Would recommend.