An iconic Parisian square, the Place de l’Opera can be found in the city’s 9th arrondissement. This square is the junction of the Avenue de l’Opera, the Boulevard des Capucines, and the Boulevard des Italiens. The square was redesigned to improve traffic flow in the area and as a popular tourist destination year-round.
The Place de l’Opera was built at the same time as the Palais Garnier Opera House. The square is a part of Napoleon III of France’s Haussmannian makeover of the French capital. In Place de l’Opéra, there are several places you must visit when you’re in Paris. Having gone on vacation to this beautiful city, I wanted to share some of the places I’ve seen and enjoyed during my time there. But first, let’s look into the avenue and boulevards joined by the Place de l’Opéra.
Table of Contents
- Avenues and Boulevards in Place de l’Opéra
- Avenue de l’Opéra
- Boulevard des Capucines
- Boulevard des Italiens
- What to see on Place de l’Opéra Paris
- Palais Garnier Opera House
- Where to eat in Place de l’Opéra Paris
- Café de la Paix
- L’Entracte Opera
- Other places to visit in the Opera District
- Musée Gustave Moreau
- Musée du Parfum
- Square de l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet
- L’église de la Madeleine
- Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Rooftop
Avenues and Boulevards in Place de l’Opéra
Avenue de l’Opéra
The Avenue de l’Opéra played a significant role in Haussmann’s traffic plan. It connects the rue de Rivoli near the Louvre to the big boulevards near the Opéra. It also makes it easier to get to the wealthy neighborhoods that were being built at the time in the northwest of the area. Between the Louvre and the main streets, there was a poor neighborhood.
It used to be full of run-down homes and a lot of narrow streets that were thought to be unhealthy and dangerous. This threat was taken care of when the Avenue de l’Opera was built by tearing down the building.
On the northwest corner of the avenue, right in front of the opera house, is the Place de l’Opéra. This point is not only where the grand Palais Garnier stands, but it is also a hub from which many streets branch off. When it was first built, it was thought to be too big, but as the number of people using it has grown, it is now thought to be too small. You’ll find the Café de la Paix and many high-end shops selling jewelry and leather goods.
Tourists love the boulevard because it is full of hotels, banks, and stores that sell high-end “articles de Paris” (French for “souvenirs of Paris”). On the rue Sainte-Anne, not far away, there is a cute Japanese neighborhood.
This street doesn’t have any trees, which is rare for a boulevard in Paris. This was an agreement between Haussmann and Charles Garnier, the architect of the opera house. Garnier wanted the best possible view of the main façade of the opera house from the end of the avenue. He wanted to be able to see clearly and didn’t want the leaves and branches to get in the way.
Place André Malraux is at the southeast end, near the Louvre. It is named after the French author who was Charles de Gaulle’s Minister of Cultural Affairs. The square was originally called Place du Théatre Français because it was named after the Comédie-Française theater. The beautiful gardens of the Palais-Royal should not be missed. They are right next to the theater.
See Related: Fun & Interesting Facts About Paris
Boulevard des Capucines
Boulevard des Capucines is one of the Grands Boulevards in Paris. The Wall of Charles V and the Wall of Louis XIII, which were destroyed by Louis XIV, was used to build the Grands Boulevards. Boulevard des Capucines is joined to Avenue de l’Opéra and Rue de la Paix by Place de l’Opéra.
Before the French Revolution, there was a beautiful convent of Capuchin nuns with a garden on the south side of the boulevard. “Capuchin” is where the name comes from. The street used to be called Rue Basse-du-Rempart, which means “bottom of the wall street” in French. This name suggests that the street used to run along the city wall of Paris. The wall was then taken down, and the street was made wider and turned into a boulevard.
Fun fact: Claude Monet created a painting inspired by this boulevard. The painting is also called “Boulevard des Capucines.”
Boulevard des Italiens
Boulevard des Italiens is one of Paris’s “Grands Boulevards,” a group of boulevards built where the Wall of Charles V and the Wall of Louis XIII once stood. These walls were torn down by Louis XIV. The name comes from the fact that the Théâtre des Italiens was built there in 1783, just before the French Revolution, where the third Salle Favart is now.
What to see on Place de l’Opéra Paris
Palais Garnier Opera House
It goes without saying that the Palais Garnier Opera House is the must-see landmark of the Place de l’Opéra Paris. The Opéra Garnier and its home in the Palais Garnier are an architectural and artistic marvel, as well as a source of mystery.
Opéra Garnier was constructed between 1861 and 1875. Located on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, its original name was “Salle des Capucines.” In honor of its designer, Charles Garnier, the building became known as the “Palais Garnier.” Before the Bastille Opera House was constructed in 1989, the Paris Opera was housed in this mansion. The ballet is the major event at the Paris Opera Palais Garnier these days.
Like Notre Dame and the Louvre, the Palais Garnier is an internationally recognized icon of the French capital. The novel The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux was published in 1911, and the musical adaptation premiered in 1986.
It is highly recommended that you have a guided tour of the Opera Garnier. You don’t want to miss this grand opera house with its stunning façade, marble columns, gilding, and superb statues!
You’ll find Palais Garnier in Place de l’Opéra, where the streets Rue de la Paix and Rue Auber meet. You can take the metro, buses, or the RER to get there.
Take lines 3, 7, or 8 to the Opéra stop on the metro. You can also take the A Line of the RER to the Auber stop. If you like to travel by bus, you can ride lines 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, and 95.
It is alright if you don’t like the crowds in the metro because the Avenue de l’Opéra connects the Louvre with the opera theater. So, it is possible to travel on foot to Place de l’Opera from Louvre!
Where to eat in Place de l’Opéra Paris
Café de la Paix
Since its opening in 1862, the Café de la Paix on the Place de l’Opéra has been a symbol of Parisian culture. Historic events of significance to the capital have taken place there.
It has witnessed generations of Parisians chatting over coffee, falling in love, and sharing special moments. The Café de La Paix is now a sophisticated eatery that successfully combines the classic elegance of the listed, historically significant design from Napoleon III with the fresh, modern vibe represented through clean lines and earthy tones.
Located in Auber streets and just a 2-minute walk from the Opera Garnier, L’Entracte serves up genuine French food from its menu. Feeling peckish after a day visiting the Musee du Parfum Fragonard? Head over to this restaurant. Grilled steak salads, frog legs, and entrecote are all delicious options. Gather your pals and enjoy some delicious pastries like crepes, parfait, and croissants here.
You should come here if you’re looking for a decent bottle of wine, champagne, or liqueur. Enjoy a cup of coffee, some juice, or a mug of warm chocolate. You can go here from the Place de l’Opéra Metro stop in just a minute’s walk!
You can opt to sit either inside or outside. The welcoming atmosphere and excellent service are major selling points for this establishment. Visitors have commented that the costs are reasonable for the meals they order. The restaurant has a relaxing atmosphere and a personal feel.
See Related: Historical Landmarks in Paris
Other places to visit in the Opera District
Musée Gustave Moreau
The Musée Gustave Moreau is a symbolist art museum in Paris, France. It may be found at 14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld, Paris, France, 9th Arrondissement. You can walk here in just 13 minutes from the metro stop in Place de l’Opéra.
Before Moreau chose in 1895 to turn his home into a studio and museum of his work, he lived in the apartment that is now the museum’s first floor. There are currently drawings, paintings, watercolors, and sculptures by Moreau on display at the museum.
Musée du Parfum
The Fragonard perfume house of France founded the private museum known as Musée du Parfum. It’s easy to get to the museum from the Place de l’Opera. Musee du Parfum is situated along Rue Scribe. You can go here on foot in 3 minutes from the metro station in Place de l’Opéra!
The museum’s exhibits are very entertaining and educational, so we recommend visiting for knowledge lovers. The best part is that there is no charge to enter, and there is even a perfume shop inside where you can pick yourself a memento to remember your trip by!
Square de l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet
Towards the west, directly opposite the Palais Garnier, is the Impasse Sandrie. Place l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet may be found at the end of Impasse Sandrie. You can walk here from the Place de l’Opéra metro stop in just 4 minutes!
You can find a stunning equestrian sculpture here. It shows a young Victor Hugo riding on the mythical winged horse Pegasus toward the dream regions, and is titled Pégase Emportant le Poète Vers les Rêve. Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame are two of Hugo’s most well-known works as a novelist.
Victor Hugo is known for much more than only his outstanding literature; he also had a role in the restoration of Notre Dame. The French artist Alexandre Falguière created the statue in the nineteenth century.
L’église de la Madeleine
The Eglise Madeleine is not just one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Paris, but also a must-see attraction in the city’s vibrant Opera area. It is just 8 minutes of walking away from Place de l’Opéra!
It has gone through several changes, as have many other large churches. The current structure dates back to the year 1806. Napoleon assumed power that year. A “Temple to the Glory of the Great Army” was what he aspired to construct.
In contrast to the other Parisian churches, Madeleine exudes a more militaristic air. Its 52 huge Corinthian columns are reminiscent of those found in ancient Greek and Roman temples.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Rooftop
The Ice Cube Bar atop Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is the place to be in the Opéra area. Unwind here during the long summer evenings when the sun doesn’t set until late. Relax with a beverage in hand and take in panoramic views of Paris from this high perch.