Theatres of the World: Part 1

The Palais Garnier Opera House, Opera National de Paris

The first installment in our World Theatre Segment

The Palais Garnier is perhaps one of the world’s most famous opera theatres. It is a symbol of Paris, a place to see and be seen, a celebration of opulence and theatre. This Parisian symbol stands boldly in all its magnificence in central Paris.

Palais Garnier Facts

• Construction began in 1861 and was completed in 1874
• Designed by architect Charles Garnier for the Paris Opera
• Commissioned by Napoleon III
• Seats 2,000
• Home to The Paris Opera Ballet

The theatre gained international recognition as the inspiration and setting for Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.

In fact, the scene of the falling chandelier was inspired by an actual event in 1896!

A chandelier counterweight fell from the ceiling to the demise of an unlucky soul below.

The grand staircase is imposing and the surrounding balconnettes are the perfect place to stand at interval enjoying a glass of champagne and sussing out everyone’s outfits (even if the glass cost you the equivalent of $20 Aussie dollars!)

Since my last trip to Paris in 2005, I have eagerly awaited the moment where I would return to see the curtain being raised to the perfection of The Paris Opera Ballet on this stage. They did not disappoint! La Source is a most beautiful and timeless ballet.

This otherworldly ballet company, performing in this most spectacular opera house is definitely a must-do the next time you’re in Paris.

And remember, life’s too short not to buy the champagne