OPERA GARNIER : Romantic National Opera House in Paris



Address : 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris
Transportation : Metro line 3, 7, 8 Opéra
Opening Hours : Daily 10:00-16:30 (closed on Jan 1st, May 1st) / Check website for special closed days
Admission Fee : During special exhibition 12 euros (normal period 11 euros) / under 25 years old 8 euros(normal period 7 euros) / Free under 12 years old



A very outstanding building even from distance, Opera Garnier. In 1860, Napoleon III held a competition to build Opera house in Paris and a young architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier, who was only 35 years old, won the competition. After 15 years of big project, he created this amazing and attractive building ever. Following the style of Napoleon III period, he left no space without decorations. 

As Charles Garnier studied in Rome for a long time and travelled a lot in Europe, he intented to combine various architecture styles in one building. Some specialists called this building 'A grand wedding cake' referring to its unique shape and style. Opera Garnier is also considered one of the world top 5 opera houses.


One of the first thing you encounter once you enter. Inspired by Bordeaux Grand Theatre, it has been built with white marbles from Italy, green marbles from Sweden, and some antique red marbles. Covering upto the second floor, it boasts its marvelous and luxurious style, making it one of the most impressive space in Opera Garnier. Charles Nuitter, the composer of Opera, described the stairs as 'Architecture in architecture'. 



At night, there are some performances like Orchestra, operas, and ballet. These days, there are more ballet performances. Inside the theater, golden decorations and red seats are magnificent and overwhelming. When Charles Garnier built this theater, he intented for audiences not only to see the performances, but also to see the overall theater. 


Opera Garnier is famous for that 'Panthom of the Opera' was played. But another reason which made it more famous is the Chagall's painting on its ceiling in the theater. Born in Russia, Chagall stayed in Paris since his 20s and mentioned that 'my art needs Paris, as tree needs water'. 
When he was asked to draw a painting on the ceiling of the theater in Opera Garnier, he was willing to work on it for free with love and gratitute for Paris. In 1965, which is after 2 years he was asked to work on it, he completed this masterpiece, which describes dancers of Opera and ballet, and scenes of Paris. Multi colored painting matches perfectly with the theater inviting you to the world of Fantasy.


The most spendid part of Opera Garnier. This space is made to be huge with length of 154m, height of 18m, and width of 13m. It was mainly for high class people to rest or socialize with each other.


To make this space more complete, Charles Garnier collaborated with the painter Paul Baudry. The picture above is a part of Paul Baudry's painting on the ceiling, and each of them describes the history of music. 


This room has the statue of Carlotta Grisi, Italian ballerina, originally from Croatia. She played 'Giselle' in the first performance of <Giselle> in Opera Garnier. She is considered a representative ballerina of romantic ballet. 



Inside the gallery and library, they are keeping the painting of Opera Garnier and some books. You can look at the painting of ballet class, the portrait of Charles Garnier, and so on. 



Every time, there are different special exhibitions. Until September 16th, 2018, they held the special exhibition <PICASSO-DANCE>. Being one of the greatest artist in 20th century, Picasso explored many different fields to express his artistic world. From 1910, he started to make sets and costumes for ballet, making a great mark on the history of ballet.



Inside Opera Garnier, they have various stuffs to look around with huge spaces, so we recommend you to visit there with enough time. Before you enter, you can choose between guided tour and self guided tour. With guided tour, you can have more detailed information following the special guide. With self-guided tour, you can still rent the audio guide in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. From the costumes which were actually used for Opera performances, to golden decorations, to splendid interior which makes everywhere photo spots.


Author & Photographer : Yuna Lee