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Palais Garnier

2 Hours

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The Palais Garnier (pronounced [palɛ ɡaʁnje] French ) is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theatre is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier (French ) and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet. The Palais Garnier has been called "probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré Coeur Basilica." This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel's subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular 1986 musical. Another contributing factor is that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, besides being the most expensive, it has been described as the only one that is "unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank." This opinion is far from unanimous however: the 20th-century French architect Le Corbusier once described it as "a lying art" and contended that the "Garnier movement is a décor of the grave". The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum), although the Library-Museum is no longer managed by the Opera and is part of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the museum is included in unaccompanied tours of the Palais Garnier.
  • SteveSmith

    4 days ago

    The theatre is incredible. Beautiful architecture. Definitely worth seeing. We paid extra for nice seats that were not cheap. I got stuck behind a guy with a big head. Spent the whole time leaning to the right to see the performance. Our seats were in the first balcony straight in front of the stage 3rd row. Looking down towards the stage with a big person in front doesn't work. Performance was very good. 5 stars if I could have seen the stage.

  • Conrad Egbert

    21 days ago

    Stunning is the only word that comes to mind! The architecture and style will simply blow your mind, not to mention how immaculately preserved it is. The Opera house is still functional so maybe that helps in its upkeep and maintenance. The main staircase is art itself. Every corner of this magical place is a sight to behold. Definitely a must visit. We didn't have enough time or we would have certainly bought tickets for one of the shows. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

  • Danny Ray D

    2 days ago

    The opulence of the Palais Garnier cannot be understated! The architecture and interior design is so incredible. The rotunda where the architect hid his name and the years of construction is very beautiful and cleverly hidden. We did not see a performance but purchased a guided tour and we were lucky to see the inside of the theatre (these guided tours do not guarantee entry into the theatre). This is in my top 3 places in our París vacation.

  • Vincent Sabio

    4 months ago

    We spent two weeks traveling through Europe and visiting all kinds of sites -- both modern and historical -- and Palais Garnier (the Paris Opera House) was our favorite. If you visit here, definitely sign up for a guided tour! The tour includes the orchestra section of the auditorium; you sir in the front orchestra while the tour guide speaks of that part of the tour. In contrast, if you do the self-guided tour, you can see the auditorium only from the Box level (two viewing boxes on either side of the auditorium, and the boxes are very crowded). If you do a self-guided tour, then get the audio headsets that help provide the history of the building and the individual rooms and their contents.

  • michael koon

    a month ago

    We went to the opening night of the Balanchine/Teshagawa ballet here and it was a great show. It is a very intimate arena compare to Lincoln Center in NYC. I would definitely sit in the loge areas and bring binoculars. The place is majestic.