Nestled between the Place Vendome and the trendy rue St Honore, the opera neighborhood is an area in the city that you absolutely do not want to miss! The district was crowned by the fabulous Opera Garnier and it’s filled with a diverse crowd ranging from high rollers to budget travelers and everything in between.
If you’re planning to stay in this neighborhood of Paris, then read on to discover all the amazing things there are to see and do in the area.
But first, a bit of history.
This neighborhood was once the stomping ground for Edward VII when he was just a young man. He had a notorious reputation as a womanizer and often frequented the bars and brothels that were once housed on these very streets.
Luckily, the neighborhood has experienced a significant change over the years, and now it’s a beautiful, trendy area centered around one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, Palais Garnier.
This neighborhood is also the setting for a famous musical and book, The Phantom of the Opera. It’s culturally rich and chic, so whether you’re looking to shop, have a drink, grab some local cuisine, or simply explore the beautiful surroundings, this is a great place to spend your day.
Now, here are the top things the area has to offer !
Visit the Opera Garnier
The majority of Parisian neighborhoods boast amazing landmark features. But aside from the well-known tourist haunts, there’s a lot more to the Opera neighborhood than meets the eye. One of the exciting things you can do here is to visit the Opera Garnier.
This is the obvious first place to visit any time you’re in the Opera neighborhood. Also known as the Palais Garnier, the opulent opera house was once the main place where the Paris Opera Company performed. These days it mostly plays host to ballet performances.
The facade of the building features an enthralling assortment of statues, busts, and icons of famous composers, including Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. At the top of the building, there is also a magnificent statue of Apollo, the Greek god of poetry and music. This is undoubtedly a place that is worth a look the next time you’re visiting the Opera Neighborhood.
Explore Paris’ Little Tokyo
Here, you’ll get to experience an adventure of a lifetime. The rue St-Anne Paris Opera is a narrow street with a rich history that is constantly evolving. During the 19th century, the street was home to the first shop to sell wine in bottles, where before then wine could only be bought in cabaret houses and bars. Later on, the street became the epicenter of the city’s underground gay club scene.
This went on right until late 1970 when the LGBT community of Paris started moving to the Marais. These days, the street houses some of the best Japanese restaurants in the neighborhood, and it has since become known as ‘Paris’ Little Tokyo’. Take a stroll down Rue Saint-Anne to enjoy some of the beautiful traditional decor and exotic dishes ranging from Japanese-style tapas to ramen, and much more.
Shop your heart out at Galeries Lafayette
This huge upmarket department store can only be described as the city’s response to Harrods in London. Located on Boulevard Haussmann, a few minutes’ walk from the Opera Garnier, this store is the original of what is now a massive chain of stores across the world.
It has somehow managed to retain its unique charm over the years. This is likely due to its stunning art nouveau architecture and the gorgeous dome ceiling that has panoramic views of the city. Inside this impressive building, you will find a treasure trove of products ranging from make-up, fashion accessories, souvenirs, and more.
From everyday items to products from some of the most popular clothing brands in the world, you’ll find everything you need in this store. There’s even a weekly fashion show that is hosted right in this store, and you can book a ticket to attend if you time your visit right!
Check out the covered walkways of Paris
The Passage Des Panoramas is one of the most charming areas you’ll see in this neighborhood. It’s an area with covered passages that are essentially small indoor shopping galleries that are decorated in bright, vibrant colors. This is a much older French version of the American shopping mall we as we know it today.
The Passage Des Panoramas is one of the oldest covered passages in the city today. It sits right between Rue Saint-Marc and the Montmarte boulevard. It was built in the early 1800 and was among the first places in the city where you could engage in the stamp collection trade that was emerging then.
These days, the walkway maintains its grand old architecture, and you’ll find restaurants, cafes, and art studios here. It’s a perfect way to pass the time while during your visit to the Opera neighborhood.
Meet international superstars at the wax museum
Paris has its own wax museum, which happens to be one of the oldest wax museums in Europe. The Musee Grevin, which is modeled after its world-renowned counterpart in London, Madame Tussauds offers a wonderful way to spend the day when visiting the Opera neighborhood. It’s a great way to discover more about French history while being entertained at the same time.
Here you will see an immersive history of France, from Charlemagne right up to the French Revolution – all presented through scenes featuring the museum’s wax figures. In addition to the history exhibits, the museum also has wax figures of more modern celebrities, including some well-known Hollywood and Bollywood stars.
If you ever find yourself in the area, don’t miss out on a visit to this breathtaking venue. The time you spend here will definitely be well spent!
Visit Paris’ Most Famous Parfumerie
Maison Fragonard was founded in 1926. This family parfumerie is the curator for the unique museum experience that you’ll get when you visit the Musee du Parfum Fragonard. If you’re interested in learning stuff you didn’t know about perfumes, then this is the place to be. This visit will be enlightening and fun for visitors of all ages.
Whether you’re young or old, you’ll enjoy learning about the history of perfume, beginning in Ancient Egypt right up to the present day. Entry is free, and you get a guided tour through the museum. You’ll be able to see attractive copper containers that were once used to distill liquids, as well as a wonderful assortment of perfume bottles and the ingredients that were used to make perfumes in the olden days.
There are many free testers, and you also get the opportunity to buy high-quality perfumes right there in the museum’s shop. There’s even the opportunity for you to book a workshop as a Perfumer’s Apprentice, where you will be able to create an Eau de Cologne of your very own!