Ever since I since I first listened to the score of The Phantom of the Opera at age six, I was obsessed with one day seeing the Paris Opera House.

So you better bet that on my first trip to Paris back in 2012 that seeing a show at Opera Garnier was at the top of my list.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any performances going on, but got to do a self-guided tour.

The opera house was even more grand than I could’ve imagined.

We even got to see the plaque on the outside of the iconic Box 5. Which is the box that notoriously belongs to The Phantom of the Opera.

Now, every time I’m in Paris I make a point to at least walk by the Garnier.

It’s my favorite building in the city.

So when I was in Paris solo last year, I was over the moon when I scored a last minute, partial view, box seat to the Balanchine ballet that evening.

Though, I will admit I had a panicked for ha few hours shopping trying to figure out what to wear to the ballet.

It was all worth it though, because not only did I end up with an outfit I adore, I also had the most magical night at the Palais Garnier.

Besides getting to sip champagne in the grand entryway, taking tons of photos (of course) and even making a new friend from Delhi, the ballet was absolutely extraordinary!

Not to mention all the art, including the Chagall in the theater, which absolutely stole my breath.

I was seriously on cloud nine by the time the evening was over.

So get ready, because I promise you seeing a show at Opera Garnier is an experience you’ll never forget!

Opera Garnier Overview

Ally at the Opera Garnier Balanchine Ballet performance in Paris 2023

The Palais Garnier, also known as Paris Opera, is a beacon of art and history nestled in the heart of the 9th arrondissement.

The Garnier is easily one of the grandest in Paris, and my absolute favorite.

It was built by iconic architect Charles Garnier.

Architecture buffs will love how it reflects exceptional architecture spanning the Beaux-Arts and Baroque styles.

Depending on the vibe you want, you can sign up for a tour, or get tickets to see a show.

Fun Fact: Charles Garnier is also the architect of the famous villa Eilenroc, in Cap d’Antibes.

Table of Key Information

ArchitectCharles Garnier
StyleBeaux-Arts, Baroque
Location9th arrondissement, Paris
Metro AccessibilityLines 7, 8, and 9

When you first approach, you’re greeted by the opulence of its façade. It’s truly stunning to see, so fingers crossed the construction that’s been up for the last year or so will be gone soon.

Inside, the intricate design and plush interiors captivate visitors. The gold ceilings, artwork, and intricate moldings will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into Versailles.

The grand hall has been welcoming guests to the theater since its inauguration in 1875.

To access the Palais Garnier, you can take the Paris Métro with stops right across the street at Opéra, using lines 7, 8, or 9.

Planning Your Visit

Buying Tickets

Opera Garnier in Paris at night Feb 2023

You can secure your tickets to a performance at the Opéra Palais Garnier through the official website, with options spanning from standard to premium seats.

Be on the lookout for reduced rate options if you qualify.

If the performance is showing sold out, you can do what I did, which was visit the box office the morning of the show.

I was able to score a partial view seat in one of the boxes.

Fair warning though, there was a massive line at the box office, so be ready for a small wait.

Getting There

Inside the Opera Garnier Paris Opera House

So obviously, this is going to vary depending on where in Paris you’re coming from.

To access the Palais Garnier, you want to head to the 9th arrondissement via public transport with the Opera station (lines 3, 7, and 8) or take the RER A to the Auber station.

If traveling by car, book a spot at the Q-Park Edouard VII, positioned directly opposite 23 Rue de Caumartin.

Exploring the Venue

Ally at the Paris Opera House Feb 2023

Once there, if you’re visiting for a tour, you’ll have the choice between a self-guided tour or a guided tour.

Both offer a peek into the library, a venture through the Grand Escalier, and views of the Salon du Glacier.

Historical exhibitions also provide insights into the era of Napoleon III.

If you visit during a show, arrive when the doors open, and grab a glass of champagne to enjoy strolling around the main corridors.

Or, go in search of the Phantom of the Opera’s famous Box 5, that must always be kept empty for him!

Oh, and don’t miss seeing Chagall’s absolutely stunning ceiling inside the theater.

Visitor Experience

Ally and new friend at Paris Opera House

Evening performances usually begin at 7:30 pm and matinees at 2:30 pm. However, there are exceptions for certain particularly long works (see descriptions of operas for times).

I’d recommend arriving at least 45 minutes before the performance begins. 

Ushers will assist you, and it will give you plenty of time to enjoy the building with a glass of wine or champagne in hand.

During intermissions, refreshments are also available.

You can also use of the coat check service to enhance your experience and don’t miss the ringing of the bell signaling the end of the intermission.

Operational Details

Paris Opera House Ballet performance in Paris at night from a box seat

Typically, the Opera House is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Depending on rehearsals or events, the theater may be closed.

The box office usually operates from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Outside of Palais Garnier in paris

According to the Opera Garnier’s website, “The Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille (Grande salle and Amphithéâtre Olivier Messiaen) have specific and dedicated areas to accommodate our spectators in different seating categories and according to their needs.

All the performances staged at the Paris Opera (except Gala or special Arop evenings and Studio Bastille programming) are accessible to people with reduced mobility.”

What to Wear to the Opera Garnier

Dress Code for Women

What to wear to a show at the Palais Garnier Paris Opera House

I was surprised when I went to find that the venue doesn’t enforce a strict dress code.

Because I like to dress elegantly to match the prestigious atmosphere, I ended up quickly finding the dress above at Mango and doing a quick change since I hadn’t packed a warm dress for the trip.

While I was on the dressier side compared to some who arrived in jeans and sneakers, I highly suggest you play into the beauty of the venue and at least dress up more than normal for your evening at the ballet.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll love walking around the golden great hall all dressed up, drinking champagne, and imagining what the past was like here.

Dress Code for Men

Man at the Opera Garnier in Paris

Dressing in a dark suit and tie or a tuxedo is smart for Gala or opening nights for men.

Otherwise, a well-pressed shirt paired with smart trousers satisfies the dress code.

Jeans, sneakers, and overly casual attire are discouraged given the prestige of this theater. However, I saw some people there in them.

Performance Information

Current Shows

Ally on the steps at Palais Garnier Paris Opera House

The Opera Garnier is home to a mixture of opera, ballets, and concerts.

You can find the current schedule on the Opera’s official website.

Whatever you do, book your tickets early. Events here sell out so quickly!

Language & Subtitles

Entrance to the Paris Ballet

Singers typically perform opera in its original language.

Don’t worry though, individual screens are available to provide subtitles in French and English.

House Rules

Inside the orchestra inside palais garner paris opera house after a show chagall ceiling

The Opera maintains a strict dress code at most events.

Latecomers might not be allowed to enter the Opera until the intermission.

Seating Arrangements

View from back of orchestra opera garnier

Opera Garnier features Italian horseshoe-shaped architecture and can seat up to 1,900 guests.

All under a ceiling painted by Chagall. It’s seriously magical!

You can see the seating chart online to select your preferred vantage point.

Exclusive Memberships

Orchestra entrance in Opera Garnier Paris Opera House

Members of AROP, the Friends of the Paris Opera, enjoy privileged access to previews, rehearsals, and special events.

Special Events

Inside the Opera Garner theater view from orchestra

The Opera occasionally hosts extraordinary events like the Opera Garnier concert series.

Stay updated through the official site for a chance to experience these unique performances.

History of the Theater and The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the operas box



How can one purchase tickets for a performance at the Opera Garnier?

Ally Walking through the paris Opera House 2017

You can secure tickets online via the Opéra national de Paris official website. Alternatively, tickets can be bought directly from the box office at the venue.

What is the typical price range for show tickets at the Opera Garnier?

Ticket to the Ballet at the Paris Opera

Prices vary depending on the performance, but you can expect a range from around €10 for restricted views to over €200 for the best seats during prime events.

What kind of events are scheduled at the Palais Garnier?

Opera Garner Chagall Ceiling

The Palais Garnier schedules a prestigious lineup of ballets, operas, and classical concerts throughout the year.

Can I take a tour of the Opera Garnier?

Ally on tour of Palais Opera Garnier in 2017 Paris

Yes, you can visit this historic venue and explore its interiors with self-guided tours or participate in guided tours that delve into its history and architecture.

How does one find the performance calendar for the Paris Opera?

Inside the Paris opera House chapel ceiling

The full agenda of performances at both the Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille can be found on the Opéra national de Paris website.

What are the Palais Garnier’s visiting hours?

Ally touring the Paris Opera House

The Palais Garnier welcomes visitors daily, with the box office operational for ticket purchases several hours before it closes.

Is there an obligatory dress code when attending a performance at the Paris Opera Garnier?

Ally in orchestra at Opera Garnier Paris Opera House after the ballet

While no strict dress code is enforced, it’s customary to dress elegantly, in keeping with the venue’s prestigious atmosphere.

Curtain Call

Ally at the Paris Opera House before the ballet

No joke, I’m already eyeing a return to Paris for next season at the ballet.

Writing this has brought back so many happy memories, since getting to see a show at the Opera Garnier was a big bucket list item for me to cross off.

I hope your visit to the Paris Opera leaves you with equally special memories.


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