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Garnier opera

The Palais Garnier is an architectural masterpiece and cultural treasure that embodies the opulence and refinement of France's Second Empire period. Designed by the architect Charles Garnier and inaugurated in 1875, it is a symbol of French opera and a jewel of art and architecture.

A breathtaking monument

The exterior of the Opéra Garnier is a harmonious blend of shapes, materials and decorative patterns. The main facade features a complex play of volumes and curves, with Corinthian columns, pilasters, sculpted friezes and ornate balconies. Sculptures and bas-reliefs representing muses, deities and allegorical figures adorn the spaces between the windows and portals, adding an artistic touch to the whole.

The gilded copper dome is one of the most emblematic elements of the Opéra Garnier. It is crowned by a statue of Fame, which rises gracefully towards the sky. Ornamental details, such as metal ornaments and roof sculptures, contribute to the building's lavish aesthetic. Please note that a restoration of the facade of the opera began in April 2023 until the end of 2024.

The work on the Palais Garnier aims to restore the south facade of the theater, overlooking Avenue de l'Opéra, which suffers from pollution, significant thermal shock and wear of materials leading to structural damage.

Inside, the Opéra Garnier is full of stunning architectural details. The Grand Staircase, with its marble scrolls, bronze balustrades and richly decorated banisters, offers a majestic and elegant entrance. Noble materials such as marble, velvet and precious wood are used in the different spaces, creating a luxurious and refined atmosphere.

The main performance hall is a real gem. It is characterized by a dome-shaped ceiling decorated with a spectacular fresco painted by Marc Chagall. The walls are richly decorated with intricate designs, gilding and carvings. The stepped balconies, the carefully decorated boxes and the imposing central chandelier, made of crystals and bronze, help to create a theatrical and opulent atmosphere.

The adjacent rooms, such as the Grand Foyer, are just as architecturally remarkable. Their sumptuous decoration, including frescoes, gilded mirrors, candelabras and tapestries, recalls the splendor and elegance of the period.

Current exhibitions

Chagall's ceiling

The ceilings painted by Marc Chagall at the Opéra Garnier are works of art of striking beauty and deep meaning. Chagall, a famous French artist of Russian origin, was chosen to create these iconic frescoes in the 1960s.

The ceiling of the main performance hall, also known as Chagall's ceiling, is a work of great poetry and symbolic richness. It features a kaleidoscope of bright colors and abstract shapes, with floating figures, stars, violins and faces, bringing a dreamlike world to life.

This masterful fresco by Chagall tells the history of music and dance, and evokes the world of theater and opera. Vibrant colors, flowing shapes and dynamic compositions create a feeling of movement and lightness, transporting viewers into an imaginative and enchanting world.

Chagall also incorporates iconographic elements loaded with symbolism. Angelic faces, flowers, birds and stars evoke beauty, passion and transcendence. Floating violins, often associated with music, evoke the emotional power of art and the connection between different forms of artistic expression.

The Chagall fresco creates a captivating atmosphere in the performance hall. The combination of music, dance and visual art invites spectators to a complete sensory experience, where visual beauty mixes with music and stage performance

Little stories from the Opera

- The underground lake: According to legend, there is an underground lake located below the Opéra Garnier. This inspired Gaston Leroux to write his famous novel "The Phantom of the Opera", in which the lake plays a central role.

- The fall of the chandelier: In 1896, a crystal chandelier from the ceiling of the auditorium collapsed during a performance, causing panic among the spectators. This incident also inspired the plot of the novel "The Phantom of the Opera".

- The lucky staircase: At the time of the construction of the Opéra Garnier, a secondary staircase was nicknamed "the lucky staircase". The Opera dancers believed that if they walked down these stairs before their performance, they would have a chance of success on stage.

- Floods of the Seine: Due to the proximity of the Opéra Garnier to the Seine, the building has been affected by several floods over the years. The most notable was in 1910 when the performance hall flooded, requiring restoration work.

- The inauguration festivities: The inauguration of the Opéra Garnier in 1875 was celebrated with pomp. The festivities lasted several days and included opera performances, ballets, and lavish receptions attended by the cultural and political elite of the time.

- The Paris National Opera: Since 1989, the Opéra Garnier has been one of the two institutions of the Paris National Opera, alongside the Opéra Bastille. This allows spectators to enjoy internationally renowned lyrical and choreographic productions in two different locations.

- The accessible roof: The Opéra Garnier offers a unique experience to visitors by allowing them to access the roof of the building. From up there, one can admire spectacular panoramic views of Paris, including the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Practical information

An idea for a visit...

  • Reception and ticket office: On arrival, you go to the ticket office or ticket office dedicated to visiting the Opéra Garnier. There you can buy your entrance ticket and get additional information about the tour.

  • Discovery of the Grand Staircase: The visit generally begins with the climb of the famous Grand Staircase. This monumental staircase is adorned with marble, statues and lavish chandeliers, providing a majestic introduction to the opera.

  • Exploration of the Foyer de la Danse: The Foyer de la Danse is one of the most remarkable spaces of the Opéra Garnier. It is usually open to visitors, allowing you to admire its sumptuous decor and imagine the dancers preparing before their performances.

  • Visit to the Performance Hall: The next step is the discovery of the main performance hall. You can access the balconies, boxes and different levels of the room. This is the opportunity to admire the grandiose architecture, paintings and ornaments that make this room a magical place.

  • Exploration of additional spaces: In addition to the performance hall, the visit can also include the discovery of other spaces such as the Grand Foyer, the Library-Museum and the Rotonde des Abonnés. These rooms are full of works of art, period furniture and other artistic treasures.

  • Self-guided or guided tour: Depending on your preferences, you can opt for a self-guided tour or a guided tour. A guided tour can be rewarding, as an experienced guide will provide you with detailed information about the history, architecture and anecdotes of the Opéra Garnier.

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