Ballet and Orchestra at the Paris Opéra

I remember the first time I saw an opera in Paris. It was an obscure Wagner work, at the Opéra Garnier, beautifully set, with supertitles in Old French. I had no idea what was going on – but I was at the Opéra de Paris!

I was delighted just to sit in this famed building, to spend time with its gold leaf, Swedish marble, Algerian onyx, frescoes, and precious stones. Not to mention the Chagall ceiling and the sublime people-watching!

Fortunately, these days, you can attend plenty of performances without missing the main event (or having to read Old French). Between the Opéra Garnier and Opéra Bastille (the latter is a must-see for modern architecture fans), there are 9 concerts and 5 ballets between Feb and mid-June. There are plenty of operas, too, including a few that are well known, such as The Barber of Seville and Faust.

It’s easy to get tickets through the Opéra de Paris website. Choose your language, search by date or by catagory, select your seats (I’ve paid as little as 20 euros), pay on line, and they will send you the tickets.

One thing to know: tickets are sold at the box office, over the phone, and by internet according to a precise schedule. Read the fine print once you’ve decided on a performance. Internet tickets for a May ballet, for example, don’t go on sale until March. And you may be able to get something at the box office a week before the performance.