Palais Garnier. Opera House in Paris, France

Palais Garnier

Opera House in Paris, France

Palais Garnier Photo © travelfreqk

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Palais Garnier

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Palais Garnier, also known as Opéra Garnier, is an opera house in Paris, France. In addition to being an important Parisian landmark, Palais Garnier is also famous for being the setting of the popular novel, The Phantom of the Opera, which was later adapted into a successful musical and films. Today the opulent opera house, known for its luxurious interiors, is home to the Paris Opera, and is used for opera, ballet, and concert performances.

History

In 1860, Emperor Napoleon III (Wikipedia
	Article) held a competition to design the new opera house in Paris, which led to the selection of architect, Charles Garnier to lead the project. The extravagant opera house was constructed between 1861 and 1875, and was likely the most expensive building that was erected during the Second French Empire. It has been the home of the Paris Opera ever since, which has also offered performances at Opéra Bastille in recent decades.

In 1910, the site was immortalized by French writer, Gaston Leroux, in his novel The Phantom of the Opera, which has since been adapted various times, most notably as a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986. While it was already a popular tourist attraction due to its famous architecture, its connection to the famous novel has made the opera house even more fascinating to visitors intrigued by its thrilling story, which is partially inspired by actual events that took place there in the 19th century.

Things to See

If you can’t afford to take in a live performance from the comfort of one of Palais Garnier’s over 2,000 seats, you can still experience the beauty of the building by touring it during the day. There’s plenty to see, from spectacular architectural and artistic features to fascinating exhibitions.

The Façade

The first thing you’ll see when you reach Palais Garnier is its remarkable façade, which is known for its impressive sculpture groups created by various renowned artists. One of the most famous is Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s La Danse, or “The Dance” in English, which depicts nude, drunken figures. When it was first unveiled, it was widely criticized as being indecent. Other sculpture groups depict harmony, instrumental music, and lyrical drama. The façade also features bronze busts of great composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, and Auber.

The Grand Staircase

One of the building’s most famous features is its immense ceremonial staircase made of white marble, with a red and green marble balustrade that leads to the Grand Foyer. Above the staircase, you can see the beautiful ceiling frescoes by painter, Isidore Pils (Wikipedia
	Article).

The Grand Foyer

The golden Grand Foyer was designed to be used as a gathering place for important members of Parisian society, and features gorgeous frescoes painted by Paul Baudry and monumental fireplaces at each end.

The Auditorium

The auditorium inside Palais Garnier is home to the largest stage in Europe. Its ceiling depicts scenes from 14 famous operas by composers such as Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Verdi, and Debussy that were painted in 1964 by artist, Marc Chagall. One of its most famous features is its awe-inspiring 7-ton bronze and crystal chandelier. In 1896, one of its counterweights fell through the ceiling and killed an audience member, which later inspired a famous scene in The Phantom of the Opera.

Practical Information

Here’s everything you need to know in order to visit Palais Garnier:

By bus: You can use the following bus lines to reach Palais Garnier: 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42,52, 53, 66, 68, 81, 95.

By metro/train: Paris Métro lines 3, 7, and 8 all stop at the Opéra station, while the stop named Auber on line A of the RER is also near the opera house.

Parking: The nearest parking area is Parking Haussmann Galeries Lafayette, located at Boulevard Haussmann, 48.

Address: Rue Scribe, 8, 75009 Paris, France

Hours: Palais Garnier is generally open daily from 10:00 until 16:30, with extended hours until 17:30 between mid-July and September. While the auditorium is usually open, it is occasionally closed during the day in order to prepare for performances.

Prices: Tickets for self-guided tours of Palais Garnier cost approximately €10 ($12) for adults and €6 ($6.90) for students under 26, with free admission for children under 10. Guided tours in French and English are also offered year-round at set times on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and cost €15 ($17) for adults, €10 ($12) for students under 26, and €8 ($8.63) for children under 10. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or from the ticket desk starting at 10:00 daily.

Similar Landmarks

Several landmarks around the world feature designs inspired by Palais Garnier, including the National Opera House of Ukraine, the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington D.C.; the Theatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, the Hanoi Opera House; and the Municipal Theatre, Ho Chi Minh City.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Apr 07, 2015

Pictures of Palais Garnier

Palais Garnier - Opéra national de Paris - Palais Garnier
Palais Garnier - Opéra national de Paris - Photo by Chris Chabot

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