Paris Opéra: 9e

FRANCE PARIS opéra garnier

Founded in 1669 by Louis XIV (a dancer himself), the Paris Opéra [8 Rue Scribe +33 171252423] has been entertaining the French for over 4 centuries. Currently operating primarily in Palais Garnier (whose name has become synonymous with the Paris Opéra), the company also performs in the Opéra Bastille, occasionally. Starting off as an exclusively male company, the Paris Opéra has been the spearhead of many evolutions and milestones in the French and/or global arts scene. Regularly patronised by the nobles, the Paris Opéra has seen the evolution of ballet as a separate art form (as it was initially seen as part of theatre performances), the birth of modern dance, as well as the music of notable composers like Giacomo Meyerbeer and Guiseppe Verdi.

The Palais Garnier [8 Rue Scribe +33 171252423 ad/ch €9/5 (individual visit to building and museum)] is a grand edifice designed by Charles Garnier; and is one of the architectural masterpieces that was created during Napoleon’s great Paris reconstruction in the 19th century (executed by Baron Haussman). Commissioned in 1860, the Palais Garnier was inaugurated only in 1875 as it had to withstand many political upheavals and riots for fifteen years.

The richly decorated building was probably created to intimidate the common man, as it is generously endowed with gold structures all around; from its gold statues on the main façade to its sparkling grand foyer. Seeming like a royal movie set, there is nothing small about the Palais Garnier, except for its humble museum that houses costumes, props and scores from the performances that have been held here since its opening, more than 3 centuries ago!

Combined guided tours of the building and museum are available.