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As Seen in USA Today

The Paris Opera

Known by many names like Opera De Paris, Palais Garnier & Opera Garnier (a nod at its architect Charles Garnier), the Paris Opera is an architectural masterpiece.  Its neo-baroque architecture is totally unique, and unlike any landmark, building, hotel or luxury apartment in Paris. Rather than sticking to a single inspiration, Garnier used a fusion of Greek & Italian styles. The structure features elaborate marble columns & gold plated statues/sculptures portraying angles, winged horses & Greco-Roman gods.  The internal structure features a 150-foot foyer and interweaving corridors & stairwells.  The walls are donned with rich velvet and bronze sculptures of Mozart, Rossini, Beethoven & dancing cherubs and nymphs. The auditorium can seat approximately 2200 and the massive stage can accommodate 450 artists (including their egos, extravagant costumes & set designs).  The ceiling holds the famous 6-ton magnificent chandelier surrounded by a mosaic panting by Marc Chagall. 

The opera house is also rich with an interesting history. It took 13+ years to build because of its splendor and various setbacks including a fire in 1873. Additionally, the land’s swampy foundation covered a subterranean lake, which had to be transformed into a man-made lake that still lies below the Opera to this day.  Not too long after it was built, the grand chandelier’s counterweight fell on an unlucky viewer, sending panic through the auditorium.  Now lets take a minute to think: a massive chandelier accident in a historical Paris Opera house that has a lake & cellar beneath it…sound familiar? This Paris Opera is the very same opera that inspired Gaston Leroux to write the infamous “Phantom of the Opera” – but don’t worry there have been no Phantom’s spotted lurking in the corridors recently.  

Hopefully you’ve been convinced to see this wonderfully historical Opera House, and perhaps even catch a show!  Tickets usually run from €8-€200, and the house is currently hosting productions like the Flying Dutchman, The Marriage of Figaro & the Roland Petit Ballet. If you only have a short time, you can book a guided tour or just pay €8 to get into the Opera and tour yourself.  If you’re staying in a Paris apartment rental or hotel, I’d suggest watching “Phantom of the Opera” before your visit. That way you’ll show up in the mood for history & mystery. 

The Paris Opera is located in the southern end of the 9th Arrondissement at 1 Place De ‘Opera.  The area is richly animated with art, theatres & restaurants, but there aren’t many furnished apartment rentals in Paris’ 9th arrondissement.  However, the opera is easily accessed via Metro on lines 3, 7 & 8 (exit Opera), the RER on line A (exit Auber), or the bus. Also, do not confuse the Garnier Opera with the Opera Bastille, which is another Paris Opera location, but in the 12th Arrondissement.  Of course, you are welcome to visit the Bastille Opera and catch a ballet; in fact offers Paris rental apartments suited for both romantic couples & families in this area.  But still, take a day to visit the old Garnier Opera, as it is a once in a lifetime visual and historical experience and perhaps you’ll even catch a glimpse of the infamous phantom!