Palais Garnier

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5 architectural facts about the Palais Garnier

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!

  • It begins with "Haussmann the Demolisher"

    1. It begins with "Haussmann the Demolisher"

    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.

  • Charles Garnier won a contest to design it

    2. Charles Garnier won a contest to design it

    After surviving an assassination attempt outside the previous opera house, Napoleon III announced a competition to design one for Paris' new, less-secluded streets.

  • The foyer is huge for a reason

    3. The foyer is huge for a reason

    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!

  • Nobody was sure in what style it was being built

    4. Nobody was sure in what style it was being built

    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!"

  • Its dome holds a valuable secret

    5. Its dome holds a valuable secret

    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!

Planning Your Visit

  • What are the opening times?

    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.

  • How to get there?

    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.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    10:00AM to 5:00PM most days.
  • Is it expensive?
    An adult ticket to visit the Palais is just 10.00 €.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Take Metro lines 3, 7 or 8 to the Opéra stop, or one of the numerous buses that runs by.
  • Additional information
    ** There are occasional exceptional closures, so check the official website and plan ahead!*

Other Sightseeing Options in Palais Garnier

Want to discover all there is to do in Palais Garnier? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Palais Garnier

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 6,698 reviews

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.

Magical lovely and inspiring perfect place to visit. Get the audio guide with iPad tablet really makes the experience valuable

Was wonderful..i took the headphone to listen to details. I recommand for all art lovers. To discover and smell beauty

Absolutely beautiful. A must see in Paris. Take your time and pretend you are all dressed up for the opera.