On my latest visit to Paris, I finally made my way to the Palais Garnier, also known as Paris’ famous Opera House. While I’ve been visiting Paris for years now (it is after all my favourite city in the world), for one reason or another, I was still yet to step foot inside. But visiting the Palais Garnier has long been on my Paris to do list, and here’s why it should be on yours, too!
About the Palais Garnier
For a little back story, the Palais Garnier is a master piece of 19th century theater art architecture. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful architectural structures in Paris, and one of the most beautiful theatres in Europe.
There are 1,979 seats inside the opera house at the Place de l’Opéra. While it is still operational today, tickets can be hard to come by for ballets and operas (not to mention expensive!) If you are interested in the architecture itself like I was, you can visit during the day for a guided tour. This is a great way to roam the interiors and learn the history of the opera house, without the expensive ticket price.
The Palais Garnier was built as the official Paris Opera House from 1861 to 1875. It was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III. It gained international notoriety when it was used as the backdrop for Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera.
Visiting the Palais Garnier
I visited the Palais Garnier as a day guest given my interest was more in the building itself than seeing a show. This is the best way to roam the interiors at great length, as well as learning the history. In the evening there are performances, however you can expect more crowds before and after shows.
Visiting in the morning is the best time to see the Palais Garnier. There are fewer crowds and a beautiful morning light pours in through the massive windows.
The best way to see the Opera House is to join a guided tour. We opted for a private two-hour tour to really get to know the ins and outs of the building. After all, I feel like I owed the Palais Garnier at least that after taking so long to finally visit!
This is easily one of my favourite tours I have booked in the city of Paris. While I love seeing the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, I really felt like I got a better history of the city itself on this tour. You will also learn more about the boulevards and grandeur of the city while on the tour.
Plan your visit
From Monday to Sunday, from 10am to 7pm and until the end of performances. Access from street Havély or from the theatre public areas.
Full rate: €14 (€12 outside exhibition periods)
Reduced rate: €10 (€8 outside exhibition periods)
Free admisssions (children under 12, unemployed)
We booked a private tour of the Palais Garnier for the full Opera House experience. You can book yours here through the Paris Opera House official website.