Grandeur, culture and mystery

The Opéra de Paris (or Palais Garnier) is the main opera house in Paris – and home to the Academy of Music. It’s also one of the architectural masterpieces of its time – a mesmerizing baroque wonderland, designed by Charles Garnier for Emperor Napoleon III.

With our Paris bus tour, you can hop off right outside. Love opulent décor? Then why not take a tour around its golden hallways, stage and staircases.

History of the Opéra de Paris

Napoleon III commissioned the building in 1861 because he wanted a second venue for the Paris Opera. Charles Garnier won the competition to design it (hence its first name, Palais Garnier). Initial construction suffered some major setbacks – most drastically when they discovered a subterranean lake, which made it impossible to lay foundations. The build dragged on for years. But in 1873, Paris’ main opera theatre burnt down and completion became urgent.

An interior fit for several kings

The interior is awe-inspiring – as grand and glittering in parts as the Palace of Versailles. For example, the marble Grand Staircase is 30 metres (98 feet) high. And the 54-metre (170 feet) long Grand Foyer features a mosaic-covered ceiling with countless elaborate chandeliers.

Other interesting facts about the Opéra de Paris

  • It’s the setting for The Phantom of the Opera story. In 1896 a counterweight fell from a chandelier, killing one person and inspiring the novel’s young author, Gaston Leroux.
  • The auditorium's main chandelier weighs a massive 6 tonnes (6,000kg)
  • The stage behind the auditorium is 60 metres (197 feet) high and can accommodate up to 450 actors.