The Palais Garnier is a landmark opera house in Paris known by several different names, including Opera de Paris, Opera Garnier, and the Paris Opera. Many of the structures in Paris maintain a historical presence and significance, and this opera house is no exception. From being a tribute to Napoleon III to inspiring one of the greatest novels of all time, the Palais Garnier is one of the most noteworthy structures that have assisted in making Paris what it is today. Tourists can visit the Palais in one of several opera house tours in Paris, including self-guided tours and guided group visits, and prices vary for each option.
Commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III as part of the Parisian reconstruction of the Second Empire, the Palais Garnier was designed by Charles Garnier and was completed after fourteen years of construction. It had been delayed for several reasons, including the Franco-Prussian War, when it was used as a warehouse, and an 1873 fire that completely destroyed the interior structure. Upon its opening on January 5, 1875, the Paris Opera was the largest opera house in the world, featuring more than 2,000 seats for guests.
In addition to its historical significance, various happenings and attributes of the Palais Garnier have inspired several works, including a world-renowned novel. A tragic incident occurred on the evening of May 20, 1896 when a counterweight broke loose from one of the massive eight-ton chandeliers and plunged from the great height of the ceiling, crushing a woman and wounding bystanders. Due to this unfortunate episode and various features of the building, including an underground lake, this opera house in Paris has inspired one of the most celebrated novels of all time, The Phantom of the Opera, written by Gaston Leroux in 1909.
Opera Garnier Floor Plan
The halls of the Paris Opera are open for tours and visitors throughout the year at various times of the day, depending on the type of tour. Unaccompanied tours can be taken during open hours every day, from 10 am to 5 pm with the last admission allowed at 4:30 pm, while guided tours are offered on a specified schedule, both in French and English. English-language guided tours are available on certain days at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. In addition to these regular opera house tours in Paris, guided thematic group tours are also available outside of public visiting hours; these allow visitors to get actively involved with the characters of opera as well as experience the romantic history and the grandeur of the Palais Garnier.
Palais Garnier tickets for shows and tours are available at the box office throughout the day; advance reservations are not required, but this will help to ensure the best seating availability for those interested in watching an opera or ballet. Admissions for opera house tours in Paris are relatively inexpensive, with unaccompanied self-guided tours being the cheapest and thematic group tours being the most pricey. Discounts and specials for Palais Garnier tickets are available for children, the elderly, students, young adults, pass-holders, Paris Visite voucher holders, and even the unemployed.
The 9th arrondissement is home to several tourist attractions, including museums and charming examples of historic architecture, making it an ideal place to visit during any vacation in the City of Light. From its illustrious beginnings to its still-famous reputation today, the opera house in Paris offers more than just a fancy show, and visitors will enjoy the assortment of tours and the romantic history surrounding the exquisite structure of the Palais Garnier.