The stunning Palais Garnier has historically been the primary venue for the Opéra National de Paris, but is mainly used by them for ballet performances these days. This iconic symbol of Paris is the best place to take in a recital, symphony, opera or ballet when in the French capital.
What you need to know about the Palais Garnier
City: Paris, France.
Transport links: Opera (Metro Lines 3,7 and 8), Auber (RER A Train Line - Red).
Access: It depends which performance you are looking to see. Tickets can be picked up in advance online most of the time for as little as €15 but the better seats for the biggest performances are likely to cost you between €80-€100.
Fact: It is one of the biggest theatres anywhere in the world and has a capacity of just under 2,000. It certainly is an experience to go see a concert, recital or show there.
Palais Garnier is a great excuse to get dressed up for a fancy night out
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a night out at the opera (or similar such as the ballet) is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It is an excuse to dress up in your best threads and have a really flash night out.
Now imagine that you’re in Paris on that night out and you’ve got an experience like no other.
Going out for a fancy night can serve as a brilliant contrast from trekking the miles between tourist attractions and is always a great way to take a load off and watch some ridiculously talented performers do their thing, especially in a setting such as this where the audience is almost certain to be respectful and well behaved.
Go on - slip into your best dress and heels, or throw on your most fashionable suit and step out on the town. You’ll feel like a million bucks!
A variety of evenings at Palais Garnier
Check the listings of upcoming events and see what delights their programme has on offer. There are staples you’re likely to see if in the city at certain times of the year but Palais Garnier has a season full of delights to grab tickets for, sit back and have a wonderful night.
Whether you are an aficionado when it comes to all things opera, or don't know your ballet from your bassoon, you can be sure to enjoy performances at Palais Garnier with the most skilled musicians and dancers from around the world regularly seen centre-stage.
The building will amaze with more than just performances
Look up on your way into the building and you will see a huge homage to the luminaries of classical music. Bronze busts of stellar composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini and more can be seen in the spaces between the fantastic columns. The building's facade is staggering and has been beautifully maintained throughout the years. It is a shining example of the history of Paris that retains its position as a cultural focal point to this day.
The building also features two groups of gilded figures representing L'Harmonie (Harmony) and Le Poésie (Poetry) which were sculpted by Charles Gumery.
The Grand Foyer evokes memories of Versailles due to its incredible opulence and unashamed decadence. The room is almost 60 feet high, over 500 feet long and its ceiling contains representations of a number of important moments from French history.
There are a group of rooms located in the west wing of the opera house named Pavillon de l'Empereur that were originally developed as a secure access point for the French Emperor back in the days of old. The work was never quite finished and when the empire fell they were left in their condition at the time. These days it is the setting for the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opera de Paris which is a frankly massive repository of documents, music, letters, photos, scene and costume sketches and promotional posters with the total collection totalling over 600,000 pieces in the overall archive.
The east wing is where you will find the Pavillon des Abonnés which is the counterpoint to the Imperial entrance in the west wing. This eastern access point was instead designed to allow subscribers to access the building and their seats/boxes from a splendid entrance that could even accommodate their horse and carriages (they see them rollin'.... they hatin') which was the preferred mode of transport for patrons at the time.
The most famous and beautiful part of the building is the Palais Garnier's incredible central staircase. It is at the heart of the building and truly sets the scene. It is impossible not to walk up this staircase in the evening when everything is lit up and not have a 'wow' moment.
If you are in any way a fan of the performing arts and are planning to travel on holiday to Paris then you 100% need to include a trip to Palais Garnier on your list of things to do.