The Opera Garnier Guided Tour

Palais Garnier
Opéra Palais Garnier

Show ended

100% in French


Opéra Palais Garnier
Place de l’Opéra 75009 Paris
Capacity 1900 seats


1h 20min


Theatre tour

Recommended for all ages

In French or English

Highlights: The Opera Garnier Guided Tour

Welcome to the most prestigious opera and ballet house in all of Paris! Book a tour with a professional guide to discover the historical and architectural wonders of the ornate Palais Garnier. Should you choose to visit the Opéra Garnier at 5 p.m., after its doors are shut to the public, your guide will take you on a journey following the footsteps of Erik – the famed Phantom of the Opera from Gaston Leroux's novel! Visit the Palais Garnier to uncover the secrets and myths of this palace that seems to transcend time itself…

Story: The Opera Garnier Guided Tour

Built in 1875 by architect Charles Garnier, the Palais Garnier is the largest opera house in Europe, housing more than 2,000 seats under its elaborate roof. As well as being regarded as the most prestigious of Paris' theatres, the Opéra Garnier is also one of the capital's most emblematic monuments, a museum in its own right with a spectacular selection of paintings, sculptures, and fascinating architectural features.


Your tour begins at the Rotonde des Abonnés, a glorious vestibule which once served as the audience entrance. Your guide will then lead you to the fascinating statue of the Pythia, and then to the Grand Escalier - a lavish split staircase with grandiose decor, featuring marble, onyx, copper, paintings, gilding, and mosaics. At its summit, you will then reach the Grand Foyer. You may find that its splendor and captivating use of mirrors and windows are reminiscent of the Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles. Technical and artistic conditions permitting, you will also have access to the auditorium.


To make your visit to the Paris opera an exquisitely unique experience, you can choose to visit in the evening (5 p.m.), after the Palais Garnier is closed to the public. Your guide will take you on a tour in the footsteps of the Phantom of the Opera, the titular character from the celebrated novel by Gaston Leroux. As you discover the secrets and anecdotes of this historically and culturally rich palace, you will enjoy the rare privilege of having the entire monument to yourself, and exclusive access to the dressing room number 5 – that of the ghost himself. This tour offers you a rare opportunity to learn all of the facts and secrets about Paris' most revered (and most mysterious!) monument from an insider's perspective. What are you waiting for…?


Book a guided tour for your group of 10+ people!

Fancy sharing your trip to the Opera de Paris with friends? Look no further - Theatre in Paris offers guided group tours of this architectural relic! Indulge in an unparalleled journey through time with your closest companions and marvel as the secrets and surprises of this enchanting edifice unfold before your very eyes… a beautiful experience to share with friends and family. Enjoy reduced rates for larger groups - get in touch!

Contact us at to make your reservation! If you are interested in booking for a group of 10 or more people, we ask that you please book at least 45 days in advance. For groups of any size, we strongly recommend booking in advance of your desired dates to guarantee your place. We’ll see you there…!


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Opéra Palais Garnier

Place de l’Opéra 75009 Paris

Opéra Palais Garnier

One of the most prestigious stages in all of France, the Palais Garnier was constructed between 1860 and 1875, designed by legendary architect Charles Garnier, who was selected among a handful of talented architects in a fierce design competition. The building itself is considered an artful masterpiece, and was one of the most expensive construction projects to come from the Second French Empire under the reign of Napoléon III. The elaborate use of different materials to lend a lavish multicolored facade was typical of many of the works under the rule of Napoléon III, and features sculptures of various figures of Greek mythology. The official inauguration in 1875 was attended by the Mayor of London and Amsterdam, the King Alphonso XII of Spain, and hundreds of members from European high society.


The interior was meticulously designed with intertwining corridors, alcoves and landings to allow for easy movement of large numbers of people; complete with a grand marble staircase and the grand foyer, acting as the drawing room for all of Paris high society and covered in gilded paintings. The auditorium itself is in a traditional Italian horseshoe shape, seating 1900. The stage is the largest in Europe and can accommodate 450 artists, revealed by the opening of the legendary painted curtain. Garnier himself designed the 7-tonne chandelier sparkling above the audience. In 1896, one of the many chandelier counterweights broke free and killed a concierge, the incident that inspired the scenes in the 1910 novel-turned-musical The Phantom of the Opera. The space above the auditorium in the copula dome was once used strictly for cleaning the chandelier, but has since been transformed into a space for opera and dance rehearsals.


The legendary building was initially deemed the Academie Impériale de Musique, yet with the fall of the Second Empire and the start of the Third Republic, this was aptly changed for the Academie Nationale de Musique, which we see written across the exterior facade to this day. Garnier envisioned his design and the transformation of the surrounding area, and to this day the opulence of the Second Empire lives on in this living monument. The avenue de l'Opéra remains the only large Parisian corridor without trees, as Garnier explicitly prevented Haussmann from adorning the street with trees, arguing that his Palais Garnier was to be the main focus. Palais Garnier became the official name in 1989 with the construction of the Opéra Bastille, and the venue now houses primarily ballets.


Fast facts
Capacity: 1,979
Handicap Accessible: Yes – in order to guarantee access to specific locations, we ask that you make your reservation at least 15 days before the performance.
Air conditioning: Yes
Heating: Yes
Coat Check: Yes (free service)


How do I get to the venue?

The Palais Garnier is accessible by the metro station Opéra (Lines 3, 7, 8) and Auber (RER Line A). Our hotline can be reached in case of difficulty finding the venue weekdays from 10 am to 7pm Paris time. For details, we invite you to consult the map above.

What do I do when I get to the venue?

We invite you to arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of the tour. Once you have entered the building, the meeting point with your guide is located at the Rotonde des Abonnés. Please present your voucher to the guide upon your arrival.

How long does the tour last?

The guided tour of the Palais Garnier Opera House lasts 1 hour 20 minutes.

Is it a guided tour of the Palais Garnier for tourists or French people?

Both! The Palais Garnier is an iconic monument of Paris, visited as much by travelers as by the local public. Tours are offered in French or English, usually at different times. The language is indicated in the price list after you select a day and time to visit when you make your reservation, so be sure to check your choice.

Is it possible to visit the theatre and backstage?

Access to the Palais Garnier performance hall is not available as it is subject to technical and artistic conditions. Access to the backstage area is not included in the guided tour of the Palais Garnier.