Visit the Garnier Opera in Paris: Tickets, Tours and History

Paris Tourist Information aktualisiert am 23/05/2024

Welcome to the most magnificent building of Paris : Opéra Garnier.

The famous Opera of Paris is one of the most important example of baroque architecture in the world, which is constructed by Charles Garnier and opened in 1875. It is considered as a masterpiece of architecture of the second half of the 19th century.

The opera building is listed as a historical monument of France since 1923. It is one of the symbols of Paris.

Find out all the important touristic information about the Palace Garnier of Paris: Location, history, activities, tickets and more below!

What can I do at Opéra Garnier ?

Opéra Garnier covers an area of 11,000 square metres (118,404 square feet) and owns a vast stage that can hold up to 450 artists. The opera house's interior, adorned with rich decoration, is a masterpiece of opulence and artistic splendor, a must-visit for lovers of architectural beauty

Upon entering, visitors are welcomed by the opulent Grand Foyer, adorned with shimmering gold leaf accents, exquisite crystal chandeliers, and a plethora of intricate details that are bound to leave a lasting impression. The entrance also features a magnificent marble staircase that adds to the grandeur of the experience. 

The illusive ceiling of the opera was re-painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall, a Russian-born Jewish painter. About 30 types of marble from 8 different countries was used for the interior decoration.

Recently, operas are mostly performed at the Opéra Bastille, while ballet shows are mainly performed at Opéra Garnier.

  • Note: Visitors may not always have access to the performance hall due to ongoing theater operations.

Shows at Opéra Garnier

Operas, ballet shows and recitals are awaiting the audience in the legendary atmosphere of Opéra Garnier.

Ghost in the Opera

Opéra Garnier gave inspiration to the famous novel "Ghost in the Opera" written by the French journalist and opera critic Gaston Leroux. There is a fictional story about a ghost who lives on the lake under the Opera House. The ghost tutors Christine, the girl in the choir secretly and thus she becomes a great soprano. Finally, the ghost falls in love with her and keeps appearing in the Opera House.

The novel has been successfully performed many times in theater and cinema, most notably the 1925 film with Lon Chaney and the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

Entrance, Tickets and Tours for Opera Garnier

The interior of the Opera Garnier building is open to touristic tours. You can buy the tickets for visits or shows on the site or online.

  • Entrance : The Paris Opera offers you the possibility to discover the treasures of the Palais Garnier's public areas, a master piece of the 19th century theater art architecture. This ticket also gives you access to the current exhibitions (when available).
  • Tickets : It is suggested to book the tickets for the tours and theatres in advance for the fast and easy entry. Although you should note that there are automated ticket machines too for your use. 

Most Popular Ticket Options:

How to get to Opéra Garnier ?

  • Metro : "Opéra" station is the closest to the Opéra Garnier on the Metro lines 3,7 and 8. (250 m.)
  • RER-A : "Auber" station (150 m.)
  • Bus : 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81 and 95

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How big is Opéra Garnier?

The building is 154.9 metres (508 ft) long; 70.2 metres (230 ft) wide at the lateral galleries; 101.2 metres (332 ft) wide at the east and west pavilions; 10.13 metres (33.2 ft) from ground level to bottom of the cistern under the stage.

Is Opéra Garnier free?

No, Opéra Garnier is not free to enter. There is an admission fee to visit the impressive building.

Where is Opéra Garnier?

Place de l'Opéra is located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The closest metro station is "Opéra" to get there.

Is there a lake under the Paris Opera House?

The problem while digging the foundation for the new opera house was hitting on an arm of the Seine river below the ground. It was not possible to pump out the water no matter how hard they tried. Finally Garnier found a way to control the water in cisterns by creating an artificial lake.

History of the Opéra Garnier

Napoleon III and his wife was attacked by a group of Italian rebels in the former opera house near today's Opéra Garnier  located on the Rue Peletier, on January 14,1858. Fortunately, Napoleon III and his wife managed to escape and survived. But 8 people died and about 150 people got injured during this attempt.  

Following this incident, Napoleon III initiated the construction of a new opera house that would be safer. It was built between 1862-1875, and  named after the young architect Charles Garnier. It is an interesting fact that this building with all the details and splendor is actually Charles Garnier's first work. He was only 35 years old when his project was selected in the competition about the new opera house.

Napoleon III never had a chance to attend any event in the new opera. He was expelled from the country during the Franco-Prussian War and stayed abroad until his death in 1873.

Opéra Garnier was opened in 1875 and known as "Paris Opera" for a long time as it was the primary opera house in Paris. Opéra Bastille was opened in 1989 in the Bastille neighbourhood and from that time on it was called as "Opéra Garnier" or "Palais Garnier". 

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