This neo-baroque architectural masterpiece was commissioned by Napoleon III and inaugurated in 1875. It is one of the two opera houses in Paris, the other one being the Opéra Bastille. Today, the Palais Garnier (named after its architect Charles Garnier) is one of the symbols of the capital and is also known for having inspired Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera. Get ready to step in a world of splendour and legends.
For the Parisian high-society of the 19th century, going to the opera was more about being seen than seeing the show, and the Grand Staircase was the perfect stage. This large ceremonial double staircase, made of marble of various colours and heavily decorated, leads to the foyers and the other floors of the theatre.
Even without a show on stage, visiting the auditorium is worth it. Following the tradition of Italian theatre, the auditorium has a horseshoe shape and can seat almost 2,000 people. Don’t forget to look up and admire the famous chandelier and the ceiling painted by modernist artist Marc Chagall in the 1960s.
The beauty and opulence of the Grand Foyer is somewhat reminiscent of Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. The vast dimensions of this hall are impressive and most of the walls and ceilings are covered in gilt paintings, reflected by the many mirrors and windows. Step on the balcony overlooking the Avenue de l'Opéra to get some fresh air.
Not sure the kids will be captivated by the wonders of opera? What about a ghost story? While visiting the Palais Garnier, follow the footsteps of the famous Phantom of the Opera. You can book a private tour in English with Meet the Locals, or make the most of the self-guided audio tour designed specifically for children, which is available in English.
Pop in the flagship store of this iconic French gourmet brand and treat yourself to one of their beautiful macarons or colourful pastries. Each one looks like a piece of art, and tastes as great as it looks!
You can’t visit Paris without stopping for a meal in one of its famous brasseries. The Grand Café Capucines is an institution in the neighbourhood. Take a seat under the Art Déco glass roof and enjoy traditional French cuisine.
Visit the most American bar in Paris. Opened in 1911 by a former jockey, it is known to be the birthplace of several cocktails, including the Bloody Mary. Ernest Hemingway and Coco Chanel were among its regular customers.
Situated on the Grands Boulevards, this wax museum features more than 450 characters. Rub shoulders with celebrities, from movie stars to sports legends, and travel back in time to relive the greatest moments of France's history.
Built in 1633 for the Cardinal Richelieu, the Palais Royal and its gardens are a haven of calm in the heart of Paris. Buren's Columns are particularly popular with tourists who love to climb the small ones and have their photo taken.
Since you're visiting the world's fashion capital, why not have a shopping spree? Discover the latest trends in this iconic upmarket department store. The building itself is worth the trip. Don't miss the Art Deco glass ceiling.
Open every day from 10am until 4.30pm. However, because of rehearsals, there are quite a lot of exceptional closures and days when it closes at 1pm. Check the website before planning your visit.
The Palais Garnier is situated just a few-minute walk away from the metro Opera on the lines 3, 7 and 8, or Chaussée d’Antin Lafayette on the lines 7 and 9.
Full price entrance varies between €12 and €14 depending on the exhibitions. Free entrance for children under the age of 12.
You might be tempted to head straight to the building’s façade, hoping to get in through the main door, but the entrance is located on the left side of the Palais Garnier, at the crossing of Rue Auber and Rue Scribe.