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Ways to Experience Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris
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Reviewed July 22, 2013

We hadn't planned to go out of our way to visit Palais Garnier on this trip -- I'd back-shelved it for a future visit, although I couldn't tell you why. One day, after visiting L'Orangerie and having lunch in Tuileries gardens, we just started wandering north. I knew Peggy had some interest in seeing the Opera, so as we got closer we decided to just go check it out.

While we were only able to see a portion of the facility (we didn't do one of the guided tours), it was one of the most overwhelming spaces in all of our travels in Paris. Some corners of it rivaled the gaudiness of Versailles, minus the teeming hordes of tourists and their sharp elbows.

Two highlights to recommend: if you can get into one of the boxes to see the interior of the auditorium, do. It is one of the most spectacular and opulent public auditoriums that I've been in...meaning I felt a bit guiltily colonialist for just being there...but still. Second: always look up. I hadn't expected the level of ceiling decor that was present throughout the building, especially in some of the smaller domed rooms.

The individual visit includes access to the surprisingly interesting (for me, as a non-Opera-buff) museum of the Opera, and the chance to hang out on the remarkable front balcony (shady, relatively empty, with a nice breeze on a hot summer day...and very few people except those you're gawking at down below...). The visit ends, of course, with the gift shop...but one of the best gift shops I've seen. It's hard for any opera fan to not leave with multiple recordings...or masks...or books...or frocks...or even authentic multi-thousand-euro furniture.

As the non-opera-buff in the family, however, I must say my personal unexpected highlight was the collection of golden rats (statues!) around the gift shop. Sadly, as far as I can tell, they were not for sale...but perfectly quirky and entertaining as an add-on to the visit.

All in all, a great second-tier tourist attraction that would be a must-see in almost any other city. Plus...it's a block from some of the best shopping on the planet.

1  Thank davenpeggy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

We decided to do this tour, based on the recommendation of our bike tour guide a few nights earlier. For 4 euros more, you get and hour and half tour. Our, in English, had about 20 people. Great historical information and great architecture. It was hot this day, and even though it was cool inside....it does get hot in several areas. , well worth the price of admission

Thank tanya4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

The inside of this opera house is just breath-taking. There are murals and paintings on the ceilings and walls, a beautiful grand stair-case that is a work of art and so many little beautiful architecture details that this easily topped my list of favorite things in Paris. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Paris!!! Absolutely exquisite!!

1  Thank Mark N Rebecca R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

We had spent the day before fighting the scrum at Versailles, when we visited the Palais Garnier. The Opera House is so much better to visit. Here is a palace that is still used, and by the general public throughout the year. There is lots of space, so you can linger for photos with time for reading the captions.
This palais is such a special building, with its musical history and literature settings. The ballet company have assembled an excellent display in keeping with this beautiful building. Wouldn't it be wonderful to go to the ballet or opera there ?- next time definitely. I was happy to pay for the entrance fees given its quality, and wish I had booked a guided tour.
being so close to central Paris, the Opera House is not to be missed.

1  Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2013

We've visited this opera house many times while in Paris, but every time I see it, I am stunned. At the top of the building, you can see Beethoven, Morzart, and several composers in gold. It is especilay beatutiful when the sun hits the building in the morning and at sunset. There are performers in front of the building every night, such as classical piano perfomrance, and singers with guitar. Tons of people sitting at the stairs watching the perfomrance.
It is relaxing to see how people from all over the world enjoy music peacefully at this amazing Opera Garnier. You can visit the inside of the theater where you can see the ornate architecture with a Marc Chagall painting on the ceiling. Gorgeous sight!

1  Thank MiaPianist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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