Several times I passed by Opera Garnier, a mandatory reference to locate ourselves in Paris, but never decided to enter. This time, instead of staying outside Zara for two hours, waiting for... you know...
I decided to use the time visiting it. Excellent. It's a rich and handsome palace, built in the 19th century by the architect that gave it its name - Charles Garnier. Its sumptuous conception and delicate decoration are a must see.
If you are one of the cultured ones you will get all dressed up to go see one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Well at least until 1989 it was home of the opera and ballet, now it is mainly ballet.
The opulence of the Palais Garnier is stunning. The stage can hold about 450 artists, and the Palais has room for about 1,979 spectators. The enormous chandelier which weighs 7 tons and is made of bronze and crystal.
The latest round of major remodelling and restoration was completed in 2007
The library-museum at the Opéra Garnier is one of the five public sites of the French National Library (Bibliothèque National de France or BnF). It is located in the Rotonde de l’Empereur, the west pavilion adjoining the main facade, which as the name implies was originally intended for the use of the Emperor Napoléon III a.k.a. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1808–1873), the nephew of Napoléon I.
Unfortunately (for him) the Empire was overthrown in 1870, five years before the completion of the building, so this pavilion was never fully completed and the dressed blocks of stone can still be seen as they were in 1870.
The main purpose of this library is to conserve documents of the history of the Paris operas from 1669 to the present.
Second photo: Historical costumes on display in the museum.
Third photo: A model of the stage set for Verdi's Rigoletto, from the opera house in Monte Carlo, January 29, 1881.
Fourth photo: Bust of Jacques Rouché (1862-1957), who was the general director of the Paris opera from 1914 to 1944. Because he stayed at his post and kept the opera running during the Nazi occupation, Rouché was long suspected of being a Nazi collaborator, though he was totally exonerated in 1951. In the summer of 2007 the library-museum was showing an exhibition on his life and work.
Opera Garnier, also known as Palais Garnier, is an opera house in Paris, built between 1861 and 1875.
Opera Garnier in 1861, designed by architect Charles Garnier, commissioned by Napoleon III. The building would be opened in 1871, but due to the Franco-Prussian War, the opening was postponed to January 5, 1875. The interior is rich with gold leaf, frescoes and marble. The ceiling is painted by Marc Chagall in 1964. The style is neo-baroque, eclectic and extravagant to mention.
This is the largest opera house in the world with an area of 11,000 sqm. The building is 125 meters wide, 173 meters long and 73.6 meters high. The opera house seats 2131 spectators and the scene, about 1200 m², containing up to 450 artists. The chandelier that hangs in the central hall weighs 6 tons and was designed by Garnier himself.
The building is best known as The Phantom of the Opera (a novel by Gaston Leroux) is playing there. There are now mostly taken ballet, the opera feature is largely taken over by Bastille Opera.
The elegant building will definitely impress you! I did not have a chance to go inside, but I surely hope that my dream of attending a performance here will become a reality one day.
I was told that for the price of a performance ticket, you can go inside and check it out. I did not even try it since I know that nothing could compare to the experience one will have attending a performance here.
I live in Paris since 2001 and for the first time went today to the Palais Garnier with my wife and my daughter who is six years old and a great fan of ballet. It is important to mention that we went to see Demonstrations de l'Ecole de Dance - a spectacle essentially performed by young dancers of 16 to 18 years of age; as a consequence, the house was full of children of all ages.
As expected, the building was beautiful outside and inside (I knew it well as this was not my first visit there), the staff very polite and professional, and everything went smoothly up to the end of the performance when my daughter wanted to go to the restroom - which is understandable as the performance took 2h15min with a short intermission of 15min only. There was a single WC at our level (actually, the best and most expensive one) and in front of it, there was a queue of at least 10 small girls with the same desire. As it was difficult for my daughter to wait so long, we tried an upper level and found even more girls in front of the restroom (also only one per level). We ran down and up again and chose a shorter queue but after 5 min waiting, my daughter could not wait any longer and did what she had to do just on site, which was a quite terrible feeling for all of us. But to make the story even worse, another girl just in front of us did the same 20 seconds earlier!! Needless to say that we were in a mood after such catastrophe...
The bottom line is that it is clearly a shame for such a magnificent and renowned opera house with Chagal’s paintings and golden decorations worth millions and millions not to invest much lower money in such basic facility as restrooms. Please note - the house has five levels and the number of seats is 1,979 according to Wikipedia - which leaves you with 198 girls/women per restroom, assuming that half of spectators are females (which is a rather conservative estimation as there are typically more female opera goers as compared to male). It is hard to imagine that in France, where the tiniest activity is regulated by tens of rules, there is no regulation for the number of spectators per theatre restroom and I am pretty much sure - or just hope - that this number is lower than 198...
I therefore strongly advise everybody who goes with small children to this nicely looking but in part badly run place to very exactly plan your restroom visits - and to support this comment as much as you can, to put some pressure at the irresponsible management.
The Paris Opera building opened in 1875. It was a design of Charles Garnier and the building is also known as the Palais Garnier. It's the largest Opera house in the world and can seat almost 2000 spectators.
The Opera was built above an underground water source. During construction the lowest part of the foundation was flooded, and underground water fills the lowest basement like an underground lake.
The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra de Paris. A museum visit includes an unaccompanied tours of the Opera building.
360 degrees pictures
Opera Garnier facade houses bust of famous musician like beethoven, mozart, etc.
We did not venture into the Opera itself but had a quick look around the perimeter of the Opera Garnier.
The interior, from the website, seems fantastic. Admission is 9 € per person and is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily. Closed January 1st, May 1st, and when a special event is scheduled.
The Opera Garnier is a grand Paris landmark located at the north end of the Ave. de la Opera.
The Opera was built between 1862-1875 and was designed by architect Charles Garnier. During construction, Garnier discovered an underground lake and spring on the building site. He decided to persist in building the opera, and today the lake still lies beneath the foundation of the building.
The opera seats 2,200 and has an enormous stage that can hold hundreds of performers at a time. The interior is swathed in velvet and gold leaf. A lovely painted ceiling is a work by Chagall and was completed in 1964. The exterior of the building is very ornate and is decorated with friezes, columns, and winged statues.
These days, most operas are held elsewhere (usually at the Opera de la Bastille) and the Opera Garnier is the home of the Paris Ballet.
You can take a tour of the Opera Garnier. It costs around 4.50 euros (or 9 euro for a guided tour). The Opera is open daily from 10:00am-4:30pm. There are guided tours in English at 3 PM.
Designed in 1860 by the then virtually unknown Charles Garnier as part of Haussmann's reconstruction of Paris under Napoleon III, the opera house incorporates varying styles from the Baroque to Classical, with exterior stone friezes, statues and columns.
Sometimes referred to as the 'wedding cake', it sits proudly at the end of the Avenue de l'Opera, a prime example of Haussmann's clearance of medieval Paris - the uniform 5 storey buildings lining the only treeless boulevard in Paris as it runs south east towards the Louvre.
Principal home of the Paris Opera Ballet, most of the performances of the Opera National de Paris now take place at the Bastille, although opera as returned to Garnier after a period of ballet and dance only.
With its underground lake, the Garnier is the inspiration for Leroux's 'Phantom of the Opera'.
Self guided tours are available.
Opening times: 10am-5pm daily (except on matinee performance days when it closes at 1pm)
Entry fees: €9; €5 (students, U-25s); free (U-10s)
Guided tours - €12/€6 (English twice a day) - book at the counter itself.
The exterior of the Garnier is grand, but nothing quite prepares for the interior, which begins as you immediately enter through the main entrance. Immediately in front of you is the multi-hued marble of the Grand Staircase and its two bronze 'torchères' (large female figures holding what is described as 'bouquets of light'). The bouquets provide the light as you head up into the many levelled foyer of the opera house itself.
And whilst certainly OTT, it is at the same time breathtaking. Garnier designed it to resemble a classical chateau and with its mirrors and windows accentuating the sheer ornateness and ceiling painted by Paul Baudry, it certainly rivals some of the best chateaus and palaces of the time.
By comparison, the auditorium is relatively plain. Note I said relatively - there's still a plethora of guilded cherubs, columns (over 5 floors of red velvet seating...) but the star is the ceiling and 6 tonne chandelier. The painted ceiling is a more recent addition - Chagal was commissioned in 1964.
Tours (guided or self-guided) do not always provide access to the auditorium due to rehearsals and performances. Best way to ensure this is to see either the ballet or opera companies in performance (we chose the ballet on the Garnier's huge stage). If you do this, note the unusual system of seats next to each other follow odd or even numbers - ie 163 and 165 are actually adjacent to each other.
The Opera Garnier is one of the highlights of any visit to Paris.
Promoted by Napoleon III and built between 1862-1875.
Self guided tours are allowed everywhere except the inside of the auditorium itself.
The best way to see the whole building is to attend a performance.
Between the columns of the theatre's front facade, there are bronze busts of many of the great composers, e.g. Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven etc (see Photos 1 and 2 for close-ups of these bronze busts). There are also other clusters of sculptures flanking the sides of the front facade (see Photo 3).
The Opera Garnier is also known as the Palais Garnier, or the Paris Opera. It also used to be known as the "Académie Nationale de Musique - Théâtre de l'Opéra" and the "Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris".
This Neo-Baroque building was built in 1875, and seats 2,200. Its central chandelier (weighs 6 tons!), huge stage and beautifully decorated exterior all add to its opulence and magnificence.
It is believed that this building inspired Gaston Leroux's "The Phantom of the Opera", when one of the counterweights for the grand chandelier fell, killing one person. This unfortunate incident, as well as the opera house's underground lake, cellars etc, all served as inspiration for the writer.
The monumental Opéra Garnier was commissioned by Napoléon III and designed by the architect Charles Garnier. Its inauguration occurred in 1875 and since then, it has been one of the world's greatest and most enviable opera houses. Garnier designed a magnificently ornate building in a neo-Baroque style that was later used as a model for opera houses around the world. Opéra Garnier occupies a strategic position at the end of Avenue de l'Opéra.