5 offbeat facts about the Paris Opera house (the phantom didn’t even make the cut)

  1. It is surrounded by banks so you could get your jewels from the vaults to wear to the opera and not have far to travel with them.  Some banks also stayed open late so that you could then return them once the opera had finished.
  2. Two months after the Nazi occupation of Paris the Opera opened with ‘The Damnation of Faust’ – how appropriate.
  3. It is called Palais Garnier as it was designed by Charles Garnier, on the opening night Mr. Garnier had to buy his own ticket.
  4. It was designed as a place to be seen, with huge sweeping staircases and long corridors to show off your fancy clothes (and jewellery, see point 1), much more than a place to actually watch opera – in fact from the top-tier the view of the stage is very minimal.
  5. Francois Mitterrand instigated the building of a ‘new people’s’ opera at the Bastille in 1985 – five years later a poll of Parisians ranked the Centre Georges Pompidou as the first monument they wished to see pulled down, the Bastille Opera the second.IMG_0362

The tours are amongst the best in the business (even the headset audio tours) – if you’re in need of culture/history then treat yourself to a tour of Palais Garnier, you’re worth it!

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