Welcome to the most magnificent building of Paris : Opéra Garnier. The famous Opera of Paris is one of the most important example of baroque architecture in the world which is constructed by Charles Garnier and opened in 1875. It is considered as a masterpiece of architecture of the second half of the 19th century.
The opera building is listed as a historical monument of France since 1923. It is one of the symbols of Paris, along with Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Sacré Coeur Basilica.
What can I do at Opéra Garnier ?
Opéra Garnier covers an area of 11,000 square metres (118,404 square feet) and owns a vast stage that can hold up to 450 artists. The massive hall has a capacity of holding 1900 people.
As walking inside, you'll be enchanted by the rich decoration. The glitter gold leafs, sparkling crystal chandeliers and countless details looks impessive.The central chandelier weighs more than 6 tons. The illusive ceiling of the opera was re-painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall, a Russian-born Jewish painter. About 30 types of marble from 8 different countries was used for the interior decoration.
Recently, operas are mostly performed at the Opéra Bastille, while ballet shows are mainly performed at Opéra Garnier.
Ghost in the Opera
Opéra Garnier gave inspiration to the famous novel "Ghost in the Opera" written by the French journalist and opera critic Gaston Leroux. There is a fictional story about a ghost who lives on the lake under the Opera House. The ghost tutors Christine, the girl in the choir secretly and thus she becomes a great soprano. Finally, the ghost falls in love with her and keeps appearing in the Opera House.
The novel has been successfully performed many times in theater and cinema, most notably the 1925 film with Lon Chaney and the 1986 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
Entrance, Tickets and Tours
The interior of the Opera Garnier building is open to touristic tours. You can buy the tickets for visits or shows on the site or online.
Palais Garnier can be visited for free on the 1st Sunday of each month.
How to get to Opéra Garnier ?
- Metro : "Opéra" station is the closest to the Opéra Garnier on the Metro lines 3,7 and 8. (250 m.)
- RER-A : "Auber" station (150 m.)
- Bus : 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81 and 95
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The building is 154.9 metres (508 ft) long; 70.2 metres (230 ft) wide at the lateral galleries; 101.2 metres (332 ft) wide at the east and west pavilions; 10.13 metres (33.2 ft) from ground level to bottom of the cistern under the stage.
The access for Palais Garnier is only free on the 1st Sunday of each month.
Place de l'Opéra is located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The closest metro station is "Opéra" to get there.
The problem while digging the foundation for the new opera house was hitting on an arm of the Seine river below the ground. It was not possible to pump out the water no matter how hard they tried. Finally Garnier found a way to control the water in cisterns by creating an artificial lake.
History of the Opéra Garnier
Napoleon III and his wife was attacked by a group of Italian rebels in the former opera house near today's Opéra Garnier located on the Rue Peletier, on January 14,1858. Fortunately, Napoleon III and his wife managed to escape and survived. But 8 people died and about 150 people got injured during this attempt.
Following this incident, Napoleon III initiated the construction of a new opera house that would be safer. It was built between 1862-1875, and named after the young architect Charles Garnier. It is an interesting fact that this building with all the details and splendor is actually Charles Garnier's first work. He was only 35 years old when his project was selected in the competition about the new opera house.
Napoleon III never had a chance to attend any event in the new opera. He was expelled from the country during the Franco-Prussian War and stayed abroad until his death in 1873.
Opéra Garnier was opened in 1875 and known as "Paris Opera" for a long time as it was the primary opera house in Paris. Opéra Bastille was opened in 1989 in the Bastille neighbourhood and from that time on it was called as "Opéra Garnier" or "Palais Garnier".