Palais Garnier Opera Highlights

Immerse yourself in opulent Parisian luxury with a self-guided tour of Palais Garnier. This iconic opera house is famously known as the setting of Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opera, and its later musical adaption by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Combining multiple architectural features, this lavish building epitomises French grandeur, and is an important spiritual home of the country's rich dance, musical and theatrical traditions. On your visit, you can tour through different areas of the building, including the Rotonde des Abonnés, Bassin de la Pythie, Grand Staircase, Grand Foyer, Avant-Foyer, Salons de la lune et du soleil, Rotonde du Glacier and tapestry collection. You'll also be able to visit the Paris Opera Library-Museum, and enter any temporary exhibitions at no further cost.

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About the Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier was completed in 1875 to house the Paris Opera. Architect Charles Garnier designed it in the style of what he termed 'Napoleon III', although it borrows heavily from Baroque, Renaissance and Palladio styles. Lavish decorations make the Palais Garnier a must-see spectacle, with detailed statuary, elaborate mosaics, expansive oil paintings, glittering chandeliers, sweeping staircases, sumptuous carpeting and gilted everything combined to overwhelming effect. As one of the most lavish and expensive creations of the Second French Empire, it has inspired opera houses from Brazil to the Ukraine.

What to See

Self-guided tours of the Palais Garnier grant access to temporary exhibitions and the Opera Library-Museum (Bibliothèque nationale de France, permanent collection, set models, works of art). You'll also be able to feast your eyes on the circular chamber Rotonde des Abonnés, the Pythia Basin, the Grand Staircase, Grand Foyer, Avant-Foyer, Salons de la lune et du soleil, the Rotonde du Glacier and beautiful tapestries. Please note that entrance to the opera concert room can be restricted at certain times for technical setup or rehearsals.

Need-to-Know

Palais Garnier tickets purchased from this website must be exchanged at the Big Bus Tours Information Centre prior to visiting the Palais Garnier. The Information Centre is located a short walk away from the Palais Garnier at 11 avenue de l'Opéra, and is open daily between 9:30am - 7:30pm. The Palais Garnier is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily, with final entries at 4:00pm. Audioguides are available to hire at a cost of €5.00 each. Entry to the Palais Garnier is free for visitors under 12.

Temporary Exhibitions

Admission tickets also grant access to any temporary exhibitions. Previous exhibitions have given fascinating insight into a variety of themes and subjects, including 'Bakst: from the Ballets russes to haute couture', 'Mozart, a French passion', 'American Choreographers at the Paris Opera', and 'Picasso and dance'.

The Phantom of the Opera

Gaston Leroux's famous 1909 novel about the enigmatic Phantom was set in the Palais Garnier. Leroux was curious about the presence of a ghost at the opera, putting his research about the building's mysteries into the book's prologue. Leroux stood by the claims that he made to the grave, and much of the evidence he posited about the existence of a ghost has yet to be explained. The subterranean lake, however, does have a basis in fact. After unsuccessfully attempting to drain the building's foundations during construction, architect Charles Garnier designed an enormous underground cistern to relieve pressure from external groundwater. The cistern doubles as a water reservoir in the event of fire, and is still in use for firefighter training to this day.

Free Admission

Please note that admission is free for children under the age of 12, disabled visitors and an accompanying person, Pass' Jeunes cardholders, AROP cardholders, French National Library Reader's Pass cardholders, Carte Culture cardholders (+1 accompanying visitor), accredited tourism professionals (e.g. guides, lecturers), visitors with French tourist office credentials, and Ecole du Louvre or Architectural College students.