Site of the paris Opera since 1669, the current structure dates to 1875. This a great place to see a show just to take in the building. Just be warned the seats ( especially the less expensive ones) are small and not very comfortable.
Originally known as the "Salle des Capucines" but soon changed to "Opera Garnier in recogntion of it's architect Charles Garnier, probably his most inspired work. The building dates from 1875, but took 14 years to build, housing some 2000 patrons. Commissioned by Napoleon III as part of the works carried out by Haussmann during the 1860's/70's and is certainly one of the most recognisable buildings in Paris.
For tips and hints on the operas themselves, take a look at VT member Nemorinos pages here:
For just the daily visits I would certainly recommend booking online just for the ease of it, although you can take your chance and do a walk-in.
Tickets for the visit are 11€ for an adult and 7€ for up to 25's
From the main foyer at the top of the staircase there was only one door open to view the auditorium, so made for a bit of push and shove to have a decent look, especially for photographers. Apparently amid much moaning and groaning they will remove the central walls between each booth on each level to be able to pack more people in for performances, so there will no longer be the intimate "own" box atmosphere. The great chandelier has some 380 bulbs and weighs in at 6 1/2 tons !!! And of course has the famous Chagall painted ceiling, executed for free.
Just to the right of the door into the auditorium is the Salon du Glacier. Situated above the Opera restaurant this room was completed after the opening of the Opera and features another tremendous chandelier and a ceiling painted by Clairin.
Once up the staircase and passing through the avant-foyer one enters into the Grand Foyer conceived by Garnier as a place for patrons to walk between two acts. 54 metres long the mirrors and lighting make the room seem even bigger. 13 metres wide and 18 metres up to the ceiling painted by Baudry increases the sense of volume. This is one beautiful and exquisite hall, reminding me of the long room at Chenonceau, but with more decoration, based mainly around music. At either end of this main foyer there are the two galleries, the Moon and the Sun and outside a loggia.that gives the view onto the place de l'Opera and the avenue of the same name.
Once you've entered and passed the controls and the statue of Garnier you arrive in front of the Bassin de la Pythie, repesenting a high priestess from Ancient Greece, and the fabulous great double staircase with a ceiling 30 metres high. Legend has it that under the Bassin is the underground river that Garnier had to block off from the foundations. The mighty staircase that leads up to the auditorium and the different galleries is a marvel in itself, multi-coloured marbles, statues, lights and paintings make this a feast for the eyes.
All you loyal readers of my Nürnberg page (thanks again to both of you!) will recall that there I talked about the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) and his opera Iphigénie in Aulis, composed in 1774.
Here in Paris I saw the sequel, Iphigénie en Tauride, with the American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in the title role. She has been one of my all-time favorite singers ever since I saw her as Octavian in Birmingham, England, in the 1990s. As Iphigenie she was fantastic as usual, and was enthusiastically cheered by the audience in the Opera Garnier.
The orchestra and the other singers were first-rate, as well, and the attractive stage set included reflecting walls that could be raised or lowered at appropriate times. Up where I was sitting we saw the orchestra and conductor reflected on those walls, and the folks downstairs saw the reflection of the golden balconies of the large hall, which I thought was a beautiful way of incorporating the magnificent architecture of the building into the staging of the opera itself.
The one thing that detracted somewhat from the performance was the fact that the stage director had decided it should take place in an old-people's home, so there were about twenty extra players as old women limping around the stage at various times. Normally I am quite good at figuring out what the stage directors are trying to say (I know some of these folks and am on their wavelength, so to speak), but this time I was quite baffled. And I wasn't the only one, because when these extra players came on stage to take their bows at the end, the whole house erupted in loud boos. (Which was a bit unfair to these poor ladies who were only doing what the stage director told them to do. As this performance was not the premiere, the stage director was no longer there to take the blame.)
Second photo: Spectators taking their seats in the upper balconies.
Third and fourth photos: The paintings on the ceiling were commissioned by André Malraux, then Minister of Culture, and were painted by Marc Chagall between 1960 and 1964.
Fifth photo: Statue of the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck in the lobby of the Opéra Garnier.
Short stay in Paris was to include this site for visit. Checked the Opera's website including the day of planned visit for schedule & closures. Visited opera only to be turned away due to planned activities not reported on website. Tremendous inconvenience due largely to this opera house being in France.
This beautiful structure with its ornate facade was a masterpiece of 19th century. It was designed by Charles Garnier for Napoleon III and inaugurated in 1875.
The interior of the opera boasts a "Grand Staircase" made of white marble with a balustrude of red and green marble and there is a five-tiered auditorium which is decorated in red velvet, gold leafing and cherubs. The ceiling was painted by Chagal and deserves special attention.
Underneath the building is a small lake which inspired Paul Leroux's hiding place for Phantom of the Opera.
There are daily tours of the interior of the opera house and you can purchase your ticket which will give admission to the public areas, including the Opera Library-Museum (Bibliothèque nationale de France, permanent collection, set models, works of art), Rotonde des Abonnés, Bassin de la Pythie, Grand Staircase, Grand Foyer, Avant-Foyer, Salons de la lune et du soleil, Rotonde du Glacier and tapestries as well as any other temporary exhibit.
The entrance price is €11. Check out their website for more details.
Magnificent building! Very crowded with tourists, even in the off season. I found it difficult to even cross the road it was so busy, but well worth the look. Unfortunately we didn't get to see inside.
There is a fee to wander around the Opera House during non-performance times. There is admission to see a performance. We wanted to see the building. We wandered upstairs, took in the spacious areas for quest to talk and drink between acts. We visited a private booth and viewed the stage and with the chandelier over the audience. Then, we wandered down stairs to a museum of the buildings.
The basement is a good option to rest a while. Though the Phantom of the Opera was out (performing in New York ?), and I couldn't find its lake, I had the opportunity to sit for some minutes, enjoying a musical projection.
Even at the dimmed light, the basement revealed itself as a nice space.
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.