The Opera Garnier Guided Tour
Place de l’Opéra 75009 Paris
Capacity 1900 seats
1 hour and 20 minutes
Recommended for all ages
In French or English
Welcome to the most prestigious opera and ballet house in Paris! Discover the history and architectural wonders of the Palais Garnier with a professional tour guide. You also have an opportunity to experience Opéra Garnier after an official closing hour by booking a tour after 5 pm. Your guide will take you in the footsteps of the famous Phantom of the Opera called Erik, from Gaston Leroux's novel. It is your chance to discover the secrets and myths of the Palais Garnier in silence and desertion!
The Palais Garnier is one of the largest opera theatres in Europe. It was built in 1875 by the architect Charles Garnier and has over 2,000 seat capacity. Famous operas and ballets were created in this historical Parisian monument. The building is also considered to be a museum for many glorious paintings and sculptures.
Your tour will start with welcoming at the Rotonde des Abonnés which used to be the spectators’ entrance. Then you will see the fascinating statue of the Pythie and continue your journey through the astonishing Grand Escalier (staircase) which is beautifully decorated with marble, onyx, copper, paintings, gilding and mosaics. Your final destination will be the magnificent Grand Foyer, a place with a unique set of mirrors and glasses inspired by the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. When the technical and artistic conditions allow it, you will also have access to the performance hall.
But that is not it! To make your experience even more special, we offer you an evening tours after Palais Garnier closes to the public at 5 pm. Your guide will take you in the footsteps of the Phantom of the Opera from Gaston Leroux’s famous novel. You will even have access to the lodge number 5 which belonged to the ghost himself and still carries all the mysteries of this mythical place. You will learn many interesting facts and secrets while getting a rare privilege of having the monument to yours.
Health Pass Information
From July 21st, 2021, health pass is mandatory to attend events of more than 50 spectators (applies to all spectators of at least 18 years old until August 31st, and to all spectactors of at least 12 years old from September 1st, 2021).
We invite you to arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the performance, as pass verification is likely to slightly increase access time to venues.
Access to performances will be authorised if the pass certifies:
- - either complete vaccination, with one of the vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen)
- - or a negative RT-PCR or antigen test less than 48 hours old
- - or a positive RT-PCR test confirming recovery from Covid-19, at least 11 days old and less than six months old
Health pass is in the form of a QR Code, to be presented on a mobile device or in printed version. Only QR Codes delivered in France or in a European country (EU Digital Covid Certificate) are valid.
Spectators living in France: the QR Code may be imported into the French ‘TousAntiCovid’ mobile application (with the function « Scan the QR Code »), or printed from the Ameli.fr French Social Security website.
For more information, we recommend you to visit the French government website (https://www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus/pass-sanitaire) or the European Union website (https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/safe-covid-19-vaccines-europeans/eu-digital-covid-certificate).
Opéra Palais Garnier
One of the most prestigious stages in all of France, the Palais Garnier was constructed from 1860 to 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 a 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 movment of large numbers of people; complete with a grand marbled 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 accomodate 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 audotorium in the copula dome was once used strictly for cleaning the chandelier, but has since been transformed into a space for opera and dance rehersals.
The legendary building was initially deemed the Academie Imperiale 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 Hausmann 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.
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 tour lasts one hour and twenty minutes.
Is the tour for travelers or French people?
Both! The Palais Garnier is an iconic monument of Paris that travelers from all over the world as well as locals love to visit. Tours are offered in French or English, depending on the selected time. The language is mentioned in the title of the rate category after choosing a day and time during the booking process. Don't forget to double check your choice.