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Opera Garnier – tour tickets, guided tours, prices, what to expect

Opéra Garnier, also known as Palais Garnier, is a 1,979-seat opera house in Paris. 

Ace French architect Charles Garnier built the structure from 1861 to 1875 at Emperor Napoleon III’s request. 

Till 1989, Paris Opera performed at Opéra Garnier, after which they moved to a new building called the Opéra Bastille.

Today, the company uses Palais Garnier primarily for ballet and offers tours for visitors who want to explore the interiors of the beautiful architectural jewel of Paris. 

This article covers everything you must know before booking tickets for the Opera Garnier.

What to expect at Opera Garnier

At the Opera Garnier unveil the history of this opulent landmark that served as a platform to showcase famous operas and ballets which are an intrinsic part of the French culture.

Stroll through the Member’s Rotunda, Library Museum and climb the Grand Escalier.

Catch sights of the Prophetess Pythia and look up to see the giant chandelier hanging from the ceiling made from nearly eight tonnes of bronze and crystals.

Walk into the horseshoe-shaped French auditorium and discover its extraordinary architectural design.

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Where to book tickets 

Tickets for the Opera Garnier are available online and at the attraction. 

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the venue.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the attraction’s ticket counters.

When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.

Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, during peak days they may sell out. Booking early helps avoid last-minute disappointments.

How do online tickets work

Go to the Opera Garnier booking page and choose your desired date and time and the number of tickets. 

Once you purchase Opera Garnier tickets, they get delivered to your email address. 

There is no need to get printouts of the ticket. 

You can show the e-ticket on your smartphone when you visit the attraction.

Bring your official IDs.

Opera Garnier ticket prices

The Opera Garnier entry tickets are priced at €15 for all visitors aged 26 years and above.

Discounted tickets are available on site for visitor between 12 and 25 years old (on presentation of proof).

Opera Garnier tickets

With this ticket, head on a self-guided tour to discover the Parisian most iconic attraction – Palais Garnier and marvel at its magnificent interiors.

Also, take a look at a range of interesting exhibits that gives insights into rich French art and culture.

Learn about the rose-marble columns, Grand Foyer, baroque statues, and intricately carved friezes and many more.

Ticket Cost (26+ years): €15

Opera Garnier Mysteries Private Guided Tour

Get your hands on this ticket that offers you a private guided tour of the Opera Garnier in which only your group participates.

Choose from a morning or afternoon tour and meet the tour guide right at the entrance gate.

From the tour guide learn about the Avant-Foyer, the Subscribers’ rotunda, the Moon and Sun Rooms, the Bassin de la Pythie, the Grand Staircase, the Grand-foyer, the Ice Rotunda, the Library and the Auditorium. 

Ticket Prices

Adult Ticket (18+ years): €310
Youth Ticket (12 to 17 years): €25
Child Ticket (5 to 11 years): €25

Box: If you want to save money, check out this combo deal – Opera Garnier and Seine River Cruise.

Visual Story: 11 must-know tips before visiting Opera Garnier

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How to reach Opera Garnier

The Opéra Garnier is in the busy 9th arrondissement in Paris.

Address: Pl. de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris, France. Get Directions

You can reach the Opera House by public transport or personal vehicle.

By Bus

Bus routes 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, and 95 serves a few nearby bus stops like Capucines – Caumartin, Haussmann – Mogador and Choiseul.

From all these bus stops, the Garnier Opera House is at a walkable distance.

By Subway

Lines 3, 7, and 8 can get you to the Opéra station, the closest subway station to Palais Garnier.

By Train

If you are taking the RER, you must board Line A and get down at Auber station. Palais Garnier is around 100 meters (330 feet) from the station.

By Car

If you’re driving by car, turn on Google Maps and get started.

Paid car parking is available at Q-Park Edouard VII – Rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris. It is in front of 23 Rue de Caumartin. Book Your Spot

If you have booked an Opera performance, check the venue on your tickets. The Paris Opera has two opera houses – the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille – and you don’t want to end up at the wrong place. 

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Opening hours of Opera Garnier

The Opera Garnier is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

From 10 September to 15 July, the Opera House closes a little early at 04:30 pm. 

How long does the tour take

It takes 1 hour to explore the Palais Garnier completely.

The private guided tour last for 1.5 hours which is more comprehensive and takes you through the hidden corners of the attraction.

Best time to visit Opera Garnier

The best time to visit Opera Garnier in Paris is when the attraction opens at 10 am. 

During the early morning, the opera house sees minimal foot traffic, allowing you ample time and space to leisurely explore every corner at your own pace.

Weekdays are better than weekends if you want to avoid the rush.

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What’s inside Palais Garnier Paris

Palais Garnier isn’t just about the performances. 

Architect Charles Garnier ensured that the exterior and the interiors of the opera house followed the Napoleon III style of leaving no space without decoration.

As a result, today, thousands of tourists line up for a tour of Opera Garnier every day. 

During the tour, the visitors are dazzled by the almost 150-year-old building’s facade, the grand staircase, Auditorium, Grand Foyer, Ceiling, etc. 

The exterior

The architect used seventeen different kinds of materials to build the exterior of the Parisian opera house.

He then arranged the exterior in elaborate multicolored marble friezes, columns, and extravagant statuary, most of which portray deities of Greek mythology.

For the best views of Palais Garnier, you must walk away from the front steps to Avenue de l’Opéra till you see the whole building in one frame. 

Don’t miss out on the facades on all four sides – South Main Frontage, West Side elevation (Garden Side), East Side Facade (Courtyard Side) and Front Rear.

Front Rear is the side with service entrances for artists, administration, technicians, staff, etc., so it is less decorated than the other facades. 

Grand Staircase

Opera Garnier's Staircase
Image: Ruslangilmanshin

When your tour of Palais Garnier starts, the Grand Staircase will immediately command your attention. 

Charles Garnier couldn’t have described it better when he said, “The opera is the staircase.”

The Opera Garnier Staircase is built of white marble from Seravezza, Italy. The onyx balustrade (fence) is sitting on a base of green marble from Sweden, and the 128 balusters are of antique red marble.

The Grand Staircase is flanked by 30 enormous columns, each made out of a single piece of marble. 

After admiring the columns, you see the spectacular fresco painted by Isidore Pils when you look up.

The auditorium

Palais Garnier Paris’s auditorium has a traditional Italian horseshoe shape and can seat 1,979. 

It has the largest stage in Europe and can accommodate as many as 450 artists at a time. 

The auditorium is supported by its metal structure, masked by marble, stucco, velvet, and gilding, which helps hold the eight tons heavy bronze and crystal chandelier equipped with 340 lights. 

During your Opera Garnier tour, you can step into the auditorium, but not on the stage.

And when you do step in, don’t miss out on the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall and the stage curtains, which have been replaced only twice (1951 and 1996) in the last 150 years.

Grand Foyer

Opera Garnier's Grand Foyer
Image: Veronika Pfeiffer

The Grand Foyer at Opera Garnier was a place where people could mingle before performances, building up the mood for the show. 

Grand Foyer is a 154 meters (505 feet) long, 13 meters (42 feet) wide, and 18 meters (59 feet) tall room covered in gold and gold paint. 

Paul Baudry, who was summoned from Rome by Garnier, painted the ceiling fresco, an allegory of Music.

Opera Garnier Ceiling

The ceiling of the Opéra Garnier was re-painted by the Russian painter Marc Chagall in 1964. 

It took him almost a year to paint 2,400 square feet of frescoes in luminous colors and myriad detail. 

Two facts stand out – Marc Chagall was 77 years old when he painted Palais Garnier’s ceiling and refused to take any payment for the work.

Today the ceiling of the Opéra Garnier pays homage to 14 significant opera composers, but it wasn’t always so. 

Before 1964, the ceiling had Jules-Eugène Lenepveu’s work – The Muses and the Hours of the Day and Night.

FAQs about the Opera Garnier

Here are a few questions visitors usually ask about the Opera Garnier.

Can I buy tickets for the Opera Garnier online?

Yes, tickets for the Opera House are available online. You can book tickets in advance and even select a suitable time.

Does the Opera Garnier offer free entry?

Free entry is allowed to guests under 12 years. Visitors aged 12 years and above must buy a ticket to secure admission.

Where is the entrance of the Opera Garnier?

The entrance of the historic Opera house is at the corner of Scribe and Auber streets.

When is the last entry to the Opera Garnier?

The last entry to the Opera House is 45 minutes before the closing time.

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# Britannica.com

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This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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