Palais Garnier

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5 architectural facts about the Palais Garnier

Charles Garnier created an opulent cathedral for the bourgeois when his opera house was finished in 1875, and it quickly became about more than just the performances. Here's how the architect made being seen as important as the seeing itself!

  • It begins with "Haussmann the Demolisher"

    1. It begins with "Haussmann the Demolisher"

    Napoleon III wanted Paris' archaic streets to reflect the glory of the French Empire. To do this, he hired Baron Haussmann to tear much of the city down and rebuild from scratch.

  • Charles Garnier won a contest to design it

    2. Charles Garnier won a contest to design it

    After surviving an assassination attempt outside the previous opera house, Napoleon III announced a competition to design one for Paris' new, less-secluded streets.

  • The foyer is huge for a reason

    3. The foyer is huge for a reason

    In creating such a spectacular foyer, adorned with marble, mosaics, and chandeliers, Garnier was setting aside as much space for socializing as for the performances themselves!

  • Nobody was sure in what style it was being built

    4. Nobody was sure in what style it was being built

    While the simplistic yet grandiose design was commended, few knew for what style it was aiming. When the Empress Eugénie asked, Garnier replied, "Why Ma'am, in Napoleon Trois!"

  • Its dome holds a valuable secret

    5. Its dome holds a valuable secret

    The cupola that crowns the opera house is a "false dome." It covers another, the space between which can retract the grand 7-ton chandelier hanging over the auditorium!

Planning Your Visit

  • What are the opening times?

    The Palais Garnier is open for visitors to wander around or take a tour from 10:00AM to 5:00PM most days. Due to performances and rehearsals, however, some access may be limited. You can check for exceptional closure information at visitepalaisgarnier.fr.

  • How to get there?

    The Palais Garnier is located outside the Metro stop Opéra on lines 3, 7, and 8. It can also be reached via numerous bus routes: 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81, and 95.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    10:00AM to 5:00PM most days.
  • Is it expensive?
    An adult ticket to visit the Palais is just 10.00 €.
  • Will I need a guide?
    It will definitely help. Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    Take Metro lines 3, 7 or 8 to the Opéra stop, or one of the numerous buses that runs by.
  • Additional information
    ** There are occasional exceptional closures, so check the official website and plan ahead!*

Other Sightseeing Options in Palais Garnier

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What people are saying about Palais Garnier

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 3,016 reviews

Paolo is a very pleasant guide! He asks questions to test your knowledge and explains everything very well and calmly. You can ask anything, he knows Paris and the history of Paris through and through. Walking into a museum with him is worth gold. You will also receive tips on where to get your souvenirs and you will visit places where you normally do not go as a tourist. You immediately feel at ease with him and go home with facts about Paris and very nice pictures. Thanks Paolo, we'll be back!

The opera was clearly more beautiful than we had imagined. Highly recommended. The boat trip gave a nice addition to the visit to the city

Great audioguide experience with iPad minis, and an amazing place.

Magnificent places, offers nickel in terms of value for money.

absolutely worth a visit! wrote about it on my blog.