- Avoid the Paris Opera House long lines with your fast track entrance ticket.
- Your Welcomer will tell you the best stories that happend onstage and behind the curtains!
- You’ll be able to take a side in the debate over Marc Chagall’s controversial ceiling mural!
- You’ll hear why the opera’s young ballerinas were known as “little rats”!
Paris Opera House Tour: High Society & Urban Legends
The building’s name is etched upon it “Académie de Danse et de Musique” (Dance & music Academy, as you guessed it) but no Parisian calls it: anything other than “Opera Garnier”, after its architect’s name.
Charles Garnier was unknown when he was commissioned to build this Third Empire symbolic construction. He fought again the whole world, for more than 20 years. It was truly the goal of his lifetime. He was right to insist and resist because the results of his efforts is this imposing, glittering, as much as unlikely monument.
Frescoes, marbles, mirrors, gold, mosaics, candelabras, crystals are hiding the true nature of this temple of art: its core is iron. Join us in that Paris Opera House tour to discover all this!
To start this Paris Opera House tour, your Welcomer will take you first to the steps of this building. Its impressive façade automatically reveals to you the preferred name bestowed upon it by Parisians: The Garnier Palace. The story begins on the outside: all of the sculpture groups, the gilded busts, the marble medallions have a message to transmit. The main anecdote specially concerns Carpeaux’ group Dance on the left side of the façade. Your guide will tell you the story of the scandalous fate of this work.
Once inside, you will follow the process as a guest of times past. Imagine yourself as an Opera subscriber. As such, you deserve a special treatment, a private entrance, on the eastern face of the Theatre, through a luxury Rotunda, allowing you no to be merged among the regular customers and to attend to the show from the stage sides rather than from a simple seat. Such a great privilege indeed, isn’t it!
Unfortunately, today, you can no longer proceed further down into the Opera house foundations. No risk – no opportunity either – to meet the Phantom of the Opera. The famous musical was inspired by this building and your guide will finally unveil the truth about the river supposingly flooding through the basement, allowing lovers to escape from the crowd…
“The Opera? It’s the Staircase”, Garnier used to say, not without bitterness. He considered this beautiful realization responsible for casting a shadow upon the rest of the building. He was kind of jealous of his own creation! And such a creation! Looking like a theater on itself with balconies, box seats and its steps as a stage. Easy to imagine elegant ladies spreading their crinolines on the marbles, a chic dandy to hang on to. Try yourself to use these steps with distinction and, once up, ask; “Did I climb these honorably?”
Other eminent place to be seen in the Paris Opera House, the Grand Foyer, so huge that you could almost stand within its fireplaces. Its windows and their reflections into mirrors multiply space, giving all needed angles to look at other guests… and at oneself, criticizing the fashion of a dress, judging the allure of a new coming “cocotte”, evaluating the fortune of a young heiress…
In that context, a splendid society showing off to itself, almost no need to enter into the proper audience room. Don’t miss it nonetheless, the location is amazing. With its red, round, gilded atmosphere, one is as if intoxicated by a never-ending waltz! All features are here in excess, the 7-ton chandelier alike. Until 1937, the tradition was to let it alight during performance. But yet another clue about the true purpose of this room: a theater for high society rather for talented artists.
Meeting Address: 1 Rue Auber, 75009 Paris, France - In front Pharmacie de l'Opéra. Closest metro station Opera (lines 3, 7 & 8)
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