Walk / Best of

A visit to the Palais Garnier

Enter a realm of splendour and legend …

The Palais Garnier, an architectural masterpiece inaugurated in 1875 at the request of Napoleon III, is without doubt one of the most dazzling monuments in Paris. A world of elegance, not to be missed!

An architectural gem

© Simon Chaput

To visit the Palais Garnier is to enter a realm of pomp and refinement in which the poetry, audacity and genius of Charles Garnier have managed to create a unique harmony between the sculpture, painting and architecture.

A showcase for dance and opera, the building dazzles with its balconies in onyx, its luxurious marble, its delicate frescoes and its rich gilding. A real gem in the heart of Paris.

© Simon Chaput

From the monumental staircase to the majestic Grand Salon, each room of the Palais Garnier is full of elegant details that compose a magical decor. An architectural symphony, created by using several styles. And an architectural ‘first’ at the time, it was to inspire other buildings, making it an exceptional monument!

Amazing treasures

© Opéra National de Paris JP Delagarde

The visitor will enjoy taking in the opulence and history of the Palais Garnier. The decor includes busts of famous names from the world of opera, as well as mythological figures, allegorical sculptures and unexpected motifs like the salamander, the owl or the bat. A fabulous atmosphere permeates the building.

This is also the opportunity to set off on the trail of one of Paris’s most popular legendary characters: the famous Phantom of the Opera! Guided by two gigantic caryatids, visitors are taken to see the theatre boxes on the 1st floor. The one that belonged to Gaston Leroux is number 5 …

© Fotolia

As for the ceiling of the theatre, it boasts a 220 m² monumental painting by the artist Marc Chagall! The fresco’s modern and contemporary look is a striking contrast to the red and gold of the auditorium below. A real high point of the visit, this auditorium brings undeniable modernity to the building and contributes to making it an outstanding monument.

More in-depth

© Jean Pierre Delagarde

A visit to the Palais Garnier can be undertaken independently or with a guide. Multimedia audio guides (on smartphone or iPad) are available to the public to learn more about the building and unravel its secrets. Ideal for exploring the opera house in greater depth: anecdotes, details and documents from the era make a visit even more enriching and provide a better appreciation of the exceptional scale of this lavish ‘palace’.

A multimedia guide for children is on sale at €6.50. The one-hour tour, with games (quizzes), is available on iPad, in French, English and Spanish. The little ballerina Zoé guides children aged 6 to 13 (age range recommended) along the way.