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

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

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

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

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

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!

Our insider tips

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!*

What people are saying about Palais Garnier

Overall rating
4.5 / 5
based on 4,286 reviews

Guide was excellent, but audio device was too soft-couldn’t hear her.

Our guide was excellent, but the volume was so low it was difficult to hear her. She showed us how to turn up the volume on our devices, but it was still too soft. Maybe her device’s volume should have been higher, too. Also, the audio earpiece wasn’t compatible with my hearing aid, and I couldn’t use the headphones that I had with me as the audio jack was a non-standard size.

Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris Reviewed by

Palais Garnier has an impressive exterior and a magnificent interior.

When my wife and I visited Paris, we both thought that the best place we visited was Palais Garnier, which has an extremely impressive exterior and a magnificent interior, including some beautiful paintings. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, telling us in great detail about the building and it's history, and encouraging the group to ask questions.

Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris Reviewed by

Social context covered while physical structues glossed over

Our guide Cathy did a nice job of covering the social aspects Opera audience and their habits. The breakdown of the building into four funtional areas was not covered very well nor were the different roofs. She did a poor job of covering the below the opera house. She did mention the lake and the Phantom of the Opera connection.

Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris Reviewed by

Very knowlegeable guide-History of bldg and Parisian way of thinking

Our guide was fabulous! She was knowlegeable about the history of the times, the architectural aspects of the building and the significance of the elements, and also revealed the Parisian way of thought. Entertaining, interesting, and she was responsive and thoughtful of her guests. Top notch tour!

Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris Reviewed by

Very expressive Spanish guide gave fantastic background information !

Although I didn't get a headphone to follow the English spoken information, I very much enjoyed the expressive Spanish who gave the group some fantastic background information about how the audience behaved in the very past during a performance. Much gracias Luz !

Opera Garnier Tour with Expert Guides in Paris Reviewed by

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