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The Best Opera Houses in France

The Best Opera Houses in France

Category: Travel Guide

An opera house is simply a theater where opera performances take place while Opera stands for a dramatic act or acts accompanied by singing and music. French opera holds a great reputation in the world and is an unmissable element of the operatic tradition of Europe. The French Opera started as an effort to compete with the already popular Italian Opera.

Here is a list of a few of the many famous opera houses in France with each and every one being unique, adding to the tourist attractions of the country. Be it the mythical Palais Garnier or the updated Opéra Bastille, the French Opera Houses are a bunch of the best works of well-known architects.

Palais Garnier

Location‎ Place de l’Opéra‎, ‎9th arrondissement‎ of Paris
Address 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France
Inaugurated‎ 5 January 1875

One of the most well-known opera houses and auditoriums in the world, Palais Garnier is an opera house in Paris, with a seating capacity of 1,979. Built in the Baroque Revival, Second Empire and Beaux-Arts architectural styles by architect Charles Garnier, who also designed the seven-ton bronze and crystal chandelier which adorns this opera house. You will notice that the ceilings of Paris Opera House are embellished with Venetian mosaics, which was the first use of these outside Italy.

Controversial Paris Opera House was the inspiration behind the play ‘Phantom of the Opera’. Interestingly, below the building, there’s a huge water tank which is also said to be an underground lake which flooded a long ago.

Visit the Emperor’s Pavilion where there is a permanent exhibition featuring stage sets, pictures, sketches and illustrations along with a library with 600,000 documents on performing arts.

  • Tickets for independent visits and guided tours can be purchased online.
  • The opening hours for the building are daily from 10 AM to 5 PM and till 1 PM on days of matinee performances.
  • You can rent a car to reach Paris Opera House where there is a car parking facility.

Drive from Paris Airport (CDG) to Paris Opera House

Total distance 27 km
Time required 1 hour 20 minutes
Best route A1

Opéra Royal, Versailles Court Theater

Architect‎ ‎Ange-Jacques Gabriel
Construction dates 1763-1770
Address 4 Avenue de Paris, 78000 Versailles, France

Also called as Théâtre Gabriel, owing to its architect, Royal Opera of Versailles is the most important theatre and opera house at the grand Palace of Versailles. Decorated with wood painted to look like marble through a technique known as faux marble, the theater can accommodate 712 viewers at a time. Augustin Pajou is the decorator behind this golden playhouse which is booked for events all the year round. This is one of the few 18th century opera houses that are still in use. Opéra de Versailles is one of the finest examples of neoclassical decoration.

Drive from Versailles Royal Opera to Palace of Versailles

Distance 1 km
Time needed 5 minutes
Suggested route Avenue Rockefeller

Opéra Bastille

Location‎ Paris‎, France
Seats 2,700
Address Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris, France

Designed by a prize-winning architect Carlos Ott, in 1983, Opera Bastille is the modern venue with a transparent facade, for the largest opera productions in the world. Opéra Bastille is the largest opera house in Paris and one of the largest opera houses in the world. You can reserve your seat online by purchasing tickets for any of the events. L’Opéra Bastille is situated in the 12th district of Paris. Opera Bastille and Paris Opera House together constitute the National Opera of Paris.

Drive from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Opéra Bastille

Total distance 28 km
Time needed 1 hour 10 minutes
Best route A3

Opéra de Toulon

Address Boulevard de Strasbourg, 83000 Toulon, France
Architect Léon Feuchère
Opened 1 October 1862

Toulon Opera is the second-largest opera house in France, listed as one of the top places to visit in Toulon. The exterior of the building is adorned with sculptures, a fine example of the extravagant style of the Second Empire. French film, La Malédiction de Belphégor, was shot at this opera house.

Drive from Toulon Hyères Airport to Opéra de Toulon

Distance 23 km
Total time 30 minutes
Best route‎ A570 and A57

Opéra national de Lorraine

Address 1 rue Sainte Catherine, 54000, Nancy, France
Architectural style Art Nouveau
Architect  Joseph Hornecker

Formerly, known as Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine, Opéra national de Lorraine is an opera company as well as an opera house in the city of Nancy, in the Province of Lorraine. Restored in 1994, the opera house is designed in the classical style, with a few elements from the “art nouveau” style, making it an important work of art which is often compared to the opera houses of Paris, giving Nancy, the nickname, “Capitale de l’Est.”

Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy provides music for all the performances in Opéra national de Lorraine.

Drive from Lorraine Airport to Opéra national de Lorraine

Distance 44 km
Time 40 minutes
Best route A31

Théâtre du Capitole

Address – Place du Capitole, 31000 Toulouse, France

Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse is one of the most respected operas of France and one of the best international stages, inside one of the main administrative buildings, the Capitole. Théâtre du Capitole houses an opera company, a ballet company and a symphony orchestra. Capital of the Occitanie region, Toulouse is a city in the south-west of France.

Drive from Toulouse Airport to Théâtre du Capitole

Distance‎ 10 km
Time required 30 minutes
Inaugurated‎ A621

Renting a car in France is a convenient way to manage your transfers and explore more of France.

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