So we are planning our second trip to Paris for this October and want to visit the Opera House. Does anyone have opinions on whether we take the self guided tour or arrange one with a guide? If we decide to take the self guided one, should we buy tickets in advance or just show up on a day that we know they are open? Thanks for any info.
We visited the Opera Garnier in late June (my daughter is a big Phantom fan) and it was fabulous! We just showed up--the line to get tickets was about five minutes. The audio guide was excellent.
We took the self guided version . I prefer to do my own homework about the places I visit , so that I can go at a pace that allows me to delve into more detail rather than being hamstrung by a group that first needs to absorb the basic information . Our visit was also in October , and buying tickets on site was easy . There are other visitors , of course , but it wasn't uncomfortably mobbed . Take your time , the art and Charles Garnier's magnificent building are worth savoring for as long as you can . Enjoy it ! Also , if you visit the Orsay , there is a magnificent exhibition of models and site location about it at the back of the museum on the first floor .
My experience was a little different. We purchased tickets online (and printed them at home) for a tour at the end of May 2015. I was glad we had tickets as there were about 30 people in line behind us that did not have tickets, and were turned away. I think the English-speaking tours are only offered on Wednesdays, check the website. The tour was just a few euros more than the regular admission (maybe $3 euros?). The guide provided some info and history about the building, and then we were free to explore on our own. The Opera House was one of my friend's "must sees", so I'm glad we were able to do it.
We took the guided tour in English and thought it was worthwhile, a lot of info imparted. We got some time in the theater itself, which I'm not sure is possible without being on a tour. (This was 5 years ago.) We got there ahead of schedule for tickets, but didn't have to wait very long as I recall. This was in early spring, might be more crowded in summer.
Access to the theatre's interior is indeed permitted on the non - guided tour . Be sure to take in the Chagall ceiling with his conceptualizations of some of the works performed in the theatre ( Magic Flute , Swan Lake , etc . ) This article will help to give you a background on the French Beaux Arts style . This style was widely practiced in late nineteenth century America , by among others , the renowned firm of McKim , Mead , and White . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaux-Arts_architecture