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Opera Garnier - Grand Staircase

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Opera Garnier


An architectural gem

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Who is it for?

Paris for you
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Why you will love it?

The Opera Garnier is certainly one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. The fact that its Grand Foyer is a copy of the world famous Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles only emphasizes this statement. Whether it is to enjoy a world-class opera or ballet performance at night or simply to contemplate the sheer beauty of this monument, a visit to the Opera Garnier is truly something you won’t regret. 

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About this place

8 rue Scribe, 75009
Line 3 / 7 / 8 - Opéra

Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm
more less
Monday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Tuesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Wednesday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Thursday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Friday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Saturday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm Sunday : 10:00 am - 17:00 pm

Our Insiders' Article

The world's most beautiful Opera House

The Opera Garnier (or Palais Garnier) is probably one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, both for its eclectic architecture and amazing interior decoration.
It is one of the 2 main opera houses in Paris, along with Opera Bastille, showcasing world-class opera and ballet performances.

Parisianist Fun Fact: Up until the early 1970’s, the Opera Garnier was the biggest opera house in the world.

Guided tours and more

The visiting entrance to the Opera Garnier is on the western side of the building, through the Emperor’s Pavillion, used by Napoleon III and his imperial court at the time it opened.
To learn more about the building, its decoration and history, there are paying guided visits on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 2:30pm in English.
There are never very long lines at the Opera Garnier, but to be sure not to have too many people, head there at the end of the morning or 1.5 hours before it closes in the evening.

The Grand Staircase and Auditorium

The grand marble staircase, with its two famous female statues, is one of the first highlights of the visit to the Opera Garnier. It leads people from the main entrance to the foyers and auditorium.

The horseshoe shaped auditorium is 20m high and 31m long (66ft + 102ft). The original ceiling was painted by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu, but in 1964 it was covered by the work of modern painter Marc Chagall. Above the auditorium hangs a huge 8 ton (17,636lbs) crystal chandelier.

Parisianist Fast Fact: The chandelier fell to the ground in 1896, sadly killing a woman (an opera loving concierge) and wounding dozens.

The Grand Foyer inspired by Versailles' Hall of Mirrors

The Grand Foyer of the Opera Garnier was inspired by the Palace of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. A perfect placement of mirrors and windows accents the size of this already huge hall with a rich interior decoration.
As opposed to tradition at that time, where the foyers of opera houses were exclusively reserved for men, women were allowed to socialize here as well.
All credit goes to the Queen of Spain who, in anticipation to admire the Grand Foyer, walked right in, followed by her female entourage, forever breaking the tradition. 

An assassination leads to a new opera house

In 1858, Napoleon III miraculously survived an assassination attempt in a Parisian opera house, which sadly killed 8 people left 200 people injured.
The next day, Napoleon III decided to build a new and safer opera house, with architecture and décors that would amaze both Parisians and visitors from all over the world. To everyone’s surprise, the project was awarded to young architect Charles Garnier and took 17 years to build.

The phantom of the Opera

While building the Opera Garnier, legend says an underground lake full of fish was discovered. This legend inspired Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” set in the Opera Garnier itself.
If the Phantom is a myth, the beehives on the top of the building, on the other hand, are very real (sold in limited quantities at Opera Bastille). Also very real are the “buried voices of the Opera”.
In 1907, 24 vinyls were sealed and buried under the Opera Garnier, only to be opened after 100 years. In 2007, these recordings were dug out and released on a CD.

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