Seating 2,200 people, the imposing Opera Garnier in Paris -- also known as the Palais Garnier or simply the Paris Opera-- is an architectural treasure and essential spot for the city's ballet and classical music scene.
Designed by Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875 as the Academie Nationale de Musique -Theatre de l'Opera (National Academy of Music - Opera Theater), the neo-baroque style Opera Garnier is now the home of the Paris ballet-- creating some confusion for many tourists.
For anyone hoping to enjoy a Parisian rendition of La Traviata or Mozart's The Magic Flute, the city's official opera company relocated to the starkly contemporary Opera Bastille in 1989.
Read Related Feature: Paris for Music Lovers
Location and Contact Info:
The Palais Garnier is located in Paris's relatively central 9th arrondissement, more or less directly north of the Tuileries Gardens and the adjoining Louvre Museum. It's also one of the crowning attractions of the Opera-Haussmann neighborhood, one of Paris's most coveted shopping districts and the hub of major department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.
To make a morning or afternoon of it, you can visit the Opera, take a stroll around the old department stores, have lunch in one of the gorgeous old 1900 brasseries in the vicinity (such as Cafe de la Paix, right across from the Opera), and wander through the grand old streets in the vicinity-- an area that's considered one of the crowning jewels of Haussmann's remodeled Paris.
Access, Opening Hours and Tickets:
Visitors can tour the main premises of the Opera Garnier during the day and visit the site's museum, either on an individual basis or as part of a guided tour.
For more information on tour times and prices, click here.
10am-4.30pm (September 10th-July 15th); 10 am-5:30 pm (July 15th-September 10th). Closed January 1st, May 1st. The cashier closes 30 minutes before the official closing time.
Ticket prices for ballet and other performances vary. To consult current and upcoming performances at the Opera Garnier and book tickets in English, consult this website.
Food and Dining:
A recently opened restaurant situated on the Palais Garnier's eastern side (simply called "L'Opera") offers good-quality cuisine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fixed-price menus are available at limited times.
Like This? Read These Related Features:
Make sure to read our complete guide to Paris for music lovers, which gives you a great overview of the city's best venues, annual festivals, and more.
Music fans of all persuasions will love the Philharmonie de Paris, the latest newcomer to the city's art landscape and offering an eclectic program of musical performances, from classical to world to rock. Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy contemporary opera in Paris, check out the boldly modern charms of the Opera Bastille.
Finally, for traditional French "chansons", dance, and late-night reveries, check out our guide to the best traditional cabarets in Paris, from the Moulin Rouge to more avant-garde (and less expensive) revues like the Zebre de Belleville.