On 15 January 1858, following an attack in rue le Peletier where the opera house was then located, Emperor Napoleon III decided to have the Palais Garnier built.
Charles Garnier, Premier Grand Prix de Rome, won the competition held in 1861 to build an "imperial academy of music and dance". He was then aged 35 and had built almost nothing. A budget of 29 million gold francs was allocated for its construction. It took nearly fifteen years, from 1861 to 1875, to build the Opéra Garnier.
The unaccompanied tour will give you access to the Opéra Garnier’s library-museum that has about 550,000 documents (books, sheet music, programmes, letters, photographs, prints and costume sketches, etc.)
You will also see five rooms presenting paintings, models of sets, and costumes. Your entrance ticket also gives you access to public spaces including the Rotonde des Abonnés, and the Bassin de la Pythie. You can admire the grand staircase, the Grand Foyer and the Avant Foyer, as well as the rooms representing the moon and the sun, the ice rotunda and its tapestries.
Finally, you can of course see the auditorium itself and its famous ceiling by Chagall. (Note it may be closed for technical or artistic reasons)
The entrance also includes entrance to any temporary exhibitions in the library.
- From the Palais Garnier ticket office: every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. from mid-July to early September
- Automatic ticket terminals located opposite the Palais Garnier ticket office
The tours include a general tour of the theatre, including the auditorium. The history of the opera, its architecture and its various activities are presented. (Please note that the auditorium may be closed for technical or artistic reasons)
- Guided tour in English: All year, every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. - School holidays and July / August, every day at 11:30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.
- Guided tour in French: All year, every Wednesday, every Saturday and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. - School holidays, every day at 11:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Summer (July / August) every day 11:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased without prior booking at the ticket office located in the Palais Garnier lobby. The office opens at 10:15 a.m. on visiting days.
Adult €14, €12.50 for children under 10
Duration of the visit: 1 hour 30
In the film, "The Phantom of the Opera" by Rupert Julian there is an underground lake beneath the opera house. This legend was established by Gaston Leroux's novel "The Phantom of the Opera." There is no lake but however there is a large water reservoir that stabilizes the foundations (sitting on the water table) and could be used if there were a fire.