The Opera Garnier is the most representative monument of the official art of the Second Empire. An architectural masterpiece, it is the symbol of the Parisian bourgeoisie splendor in the 19th century. Formerly the “Opera of Paris”, it was renamed Opera Garnier following the construction of the Opera Bastille in 1989. The opening of this second opera also engendered a structural change. For a while it was consecrated to ballets, it is now a dance, music and lyrical arts academy. Numerous artists, such as La Callas, are written in the history of this prestigious cultural place.
An exuberant building
The Opera Garnier is inscribed in the continuity of transformations that Paris underwent under Napoleon III and the prefect Haussmann. The latter had already laid down projects for monumental avenues in this neighborhood. He chose a site of 107 639 sq. ft. that resulted from the crossroads of these avenues. In 1860, a competition was launched for the construction of the new opera. It was the project of the young architect Charles Garnier that was chosen unanimously. In all, 73 sculptors and 14 painters worked diligently on it until the inauguration of the monument in January 1875.
Exuberantly baroque, it wasn’t, however, in everyone’s taste... The empress Eugénie herself even declared: “what an ugly duckling, that’s not style, it’s neither Greek nor Roman!” to which Charles Garnier responded “it’s Napoleon III, Madame!”
With a length of 564 feet and width of 407 feet, the Opera Garnier is the largest lyrical theatre in Europe and can welcome over 2000 spectators.
Don’t forget to come and admire the Italian auditorium whose ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall.
Opéra de Paris - Palais Garnier
8, rue Scribe
Full fee: 13.5 €
Reduced fee: 9.5 €
Children aged 9 or younger: 6.5 €
Advance tickets (full fee): 11 €
All year long:
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 pm