When you’re in Paris and want to catch a fantastic opera, the city offers two remarkable venues: Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille. These iconic Parisian institutions are part of the Opéra national de Paris and provide world-class performances in stunning architectural settings.
Palais Garnier is a historic gem with its opulent design and rich history. Designed by Charles Garnier, this architectural masterpiece has been a Parisian landmark since it opened in 1875. Adorned with marble and gold, the Palais Garnier’s interior is a sight to behold, with its Grand Staircase, magnificent stage, and luxurious auditorium.
Opéra Bastille, on the other hand, is a modern marvel that opened in 1989 as part of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution. Its sleek, contemporary design by Carlos Ott stands in contrast to Palais Garnier. The Opéra Bastille is known for its exceptional acoustics and massive stage, which can hold up to 450 artists. It hosts a variety of performances, from classic operas to innovative ballets.
Palais Garnier, the 19th-century architectural masterpiece, offers guided tours and exhibitions. When it comes to performances, you can expect timeless pieces like Lohengrin alongside ballets and modern shows. Prices range from around €15 for a tour to higher fees for ballet and opera performances.
Opéra Bastille, with its more contemporary feel, showcases world-class operas and ballets. Depending on the performance and seat selection, expect to pay anywhere from €35 to €200 or more for a ticket.
To plan your visit, check the Opéra national de Paris website for upcoming events and performances. You’ll find options for every taste, like traditional opera classics, new show premieres, and opening gala events at both venues. Ticket prices vary depending on the performance and seat location, but you can be sure that any performance in either Palais Garnier or Opéra Bastille will be a memorable experience in the heart of the City of Lights.
La Traviata at Jacquemart-André Museum
You already know that Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille are the best places for opera in the city, but they’re not the only places.
They may not even be the coolest.
For a one-of-a-kind Parisian opera experience, check out La Traviata at the Jacquemart-André Museum. Here, opera is performed in a cozy and exclusive setting after-hours. This unique experience will make your visit to Paris even more memorable.
Just keep in mind this is a very occasional event (the next one isn’t until April 2024), and the price tag reflects the exlusivity.
The History of Paris Opera
The city of love, lights, and some of the most amazing opera performances you’ll ever experience. Let’s dive into the history of Paris Opera, so you can fully appreciate its significance before heading to a show.
Back in the 17th century, Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, decided to grant a patent for the Royal Academy of Music (Académie Royale de Musique) in 1669. This is where it all began for the Paris Opera. The first performance was “Pomone,” a pastoral opera by composer Robert Cambert and poet Pierre Perrin in 1671.
The 19th century saw the Paris Opera flourish even more. Under the influence of key composers like Lully, Rameau, Gluck, Rossini, Donizetti, and Wagner, the art form blossomed in this period. These musical geniuses wrote pieces that would leave you breathless, and their mastery of opera remains influential to this day.
Now, you might be wondering how the stunning Paris Opera venues came to be. Well, meet Baron Haussmann, the famous urban planner responsible for the redesign of Paris. Under his watch, the city was transformed into the Paris we see today, including magnificent opera houses like Palais Garnier. If you visit, make sure you take a moment to marvel at its architecture and opulent design.
Touring Opéra de Paris
Made up of two stunning venues, Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille, this institution offers top-notch performances and breathtaking architecture. But before you dive into the shows, why not start with a tour of the venues themselves? You’ll get an insider’s perspective and an enriching experience.
Embark on a guided tour of the Palais Garnier, one of the most prestigious opera and ballet houses in all of Paris. With a professional guide at your side, you’ll have the chance to explore the historical and architectural wonders of this ornate palace. The tour typically lasts around 1 hour and 20 minutes and is available in French or English.
While you’re at the Palais Garnier, don’t forget to check out the site’s museum. It showcases amazing exhibitions, giving you a glimpse into the rich history of the opera world. During the daytime, you can tour the main premises on your own or as part of a guided tour. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (September 10th to July 15th) and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (July 15th to September 10th). Just keep in mind that it’s closed on January 1st and May 1st.
Moving on to the Opéra Bastille, make sure to reserve a parking space if you’re arriving by car, as access is through the artists and staff entry at 120 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris. You can also reach the venue by metro (Bastille station, lines 1, 5, and 8), RER (Gare de Lyon station, line A), or bus (lines 29, 69, 76, 86, 87, 91). The Q-Park Opéra Bastille car park is located at 34 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris.
Whether you’re admiring the grandeur of the Palais Garnier or exploring the modern elegance of the Opéra Bastille, taking a tour of these venues will only enhance your appreciation of the world-class performances to come.
Exploring the Extravagance: Grand Staircase and Foyers
When you step inside the opulent Opera Garnier, prepare to be mesmerized by the grandeur of the Grand Staircase and the lavish foyers.
The moment you walk in, the Grand Staircase stops you in your tracks. It’s a masterpiece of marble, adorned with intricate statues and gilded adornments that sets the scene for your incredible journey ahead. As you climb the staircase, let your eyes wander over the stunning details, from the extraordinary frescoes on the ceiling to the plush crimson carpet beneath your feet.
Now, let’s talk foyers. In this architectural gem, they are just as extravagant as the staircase. The Grand Foyer offers a jaw-dropping setting for an evening intermission or simply an unforgettable stroll. Its vibrant ceiling paintings, ornate stucco embellishments, and glittering chandeliers will leave you speechless.
Don’t forget to check out the smaller foyers too – they’re equally stunning! Mingle around and soak in the opulence surrounding you, just like the Parisian high society of the past. Every corner you explore unveils another mesmerizing facet of this Parisian cultural icon.
As you navigate these extravagant spaces, it’s no wonder that the Opera Garnier is considered a must-visit attraction in Paris. You’ll not only appreciate the jaw-dropping beauty, but also the rich history and phenomenal acoustics that make opera performances here truly unforgettable.
Booking Your Visit
Let’s talk about booking your visit to the legendary Palais Garnier, home to the Opéra national de Paris.
First things first, you’ve got several options for snagging those coveted tickets. If you’re the tech-savvy type, whip out your smartphone or tablet and book online through the Paris Opera’s App, available on both iOS and Android. It’s quick, easy, and gets the job done in no time.
But hey, if you prefer the good old-fashioned way, there’s always the Palais Garnier box office at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The box office is open from 10am to 6:30pm and even an hour before performances, just in case you’re into the whole last-minute thrill thing.
Now, let’s talk about priority booking and subscriptions for those who want to be ahead of the game. If you’re keen on attending multiple performances, subscribing to the Paris Opera’s seasonal program is a smart move. Subscribers score priority booking, which means less stress, more flexibility, and a guaranteed spot at your chosen shows. Plus, you might even save some cash in the process.
Before you take the plunge though, be sure to check out the complete schedule of performances for the season. From opera to ballet, recitals to concerts, there’s something for everyone at the Palais Garnier. Whether you’re looking for the classics or something new, keep an eye on their lineup – they frequently update it with fresh shows and events.
The Paris Opera Ballet: A Must-See
When you’re in Paris and eager to witness some world-class opera there’s no better place to immerse yourself in the city’s rich cultural scene than the Paris Opera Ballet.
The Paris Opera Ballet, also known as the Opéra national de Paris, is among the most prestigious ballet companies in the world. Founded in the 17th century by Louis XIV, it is one of the oldest institutions of its kind. The company’s main residence is the stunning Palais Garnier, an opulent 19th-century opera house designed by Charles Garnier.
Now, don’t let the name fool you! While the word “opera” is in the title, the opera house is home to both incredible opera performances and mesmerizing ballets. This dual focus may come as a surprise to some, but trust us, it’s a magical marriage of two art forms that’s worth your time.
When it comes to experiencing the ballet at Palais Garnier, you’re in for a treat. With a strong emphasis on classical works, the Paris Opera Ballet showcases timeless pieces such as “La Sylphide,” an enchanting Romantic ballet that premiered in 1832 and is still adored by audiences today.
To help plan your visit, check out the Opéra national de Paris website for the latest program schedule. It offers a diverse selection of shows that include opera, ballet, concerts, and recitals, ensuring you’ll find the perfect performance to suit your artistic interests.
Remember to book your tickets well in advance, as shows at the Paris Opera Ballet tend to sell out quickly. It’s your chance to get up-close with the talent and artistry that has made Paris a world-renowned destination for theater and dance enthusiasts.
Library and Museum at Paris Opera
If you’re an opera fan or just curious about Paris’ cultural scene, you definitely don’t want to miss the Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra National de Paris. This library and museum combo is part of the renowned Palais Garnier and offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of opera.
Theis treasure trove is actually managed by the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France or BnF), under its Music Department. So you know you’re getting that authentic Parisian flair in a chic setting.
When you swing by, expect to be immersed in the rich history of the Paris Opera, including its fabulous auditorium and charming public spaces—think grand foyer, rotonde des abonnés, and salons. You’ll also have the chance to browse through the museum-library, plus get a peek at some rehearsal studios and workshops. It’s like stepping backstage in the world of opera!
The library and museum are open Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, but closed on Sundays and bank holidays. Getting there is a piece of cake – just hop on the metro lines 3, 7, or 8 to the Opéra stop, or the RER A to Auber station.
Remember to soak it all in and enjoy exploring these elegant, historical spaces that showcase the beauty of opera in Paris.