Jump to content

Paris Opera Ballet/Palais Garnier


Recommended Posts

I'm hoping to book some Paris Opera Ballet tickets next week, but I've been told that the views in the Palais Garnier can vary a lot and some of the 'restricted view' seats really are very restricted. Could anyone who's been there give me any advice about areas to avoid? (I'm hoping to be able to get tickets in the 25 Euro price band).

 

Thanks!

 

Jane

Edited by JaneL
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Garnier is a horse-shoe shape auditorium so I would try and avoid the side boxes. I would also try and avoid the rear seats in the boxes although these would likely be the cheaper ones. I'm afraid I've only ever been in the more expensive seats. When we saw RDB there in January, I won't admit to how much the ticket was, I had a big head in front of me in the stalls. Fortunately for me the gentleman sitting next to me spotted an empty seat next to a friend so I was then able to sit in his seat.

 

If a performance is heavily sold, there are also fold-down seats which fill the centre aisle. I do not know how these come to be sold or if they are cheaper.

 

Sorry not to be more helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have also only been in the more expensive seats because for me going there is a rare treat for which I'm prepared to splurge. You should be able to see the exact photoview from your seat when you select it, before you confirm purchase, perhaps that may help you to decide? I've usually been in the Orchestre section but the last time had seats in Balcon, and found the seats themselves significantly more comfortable and with more leg room as well as better views than the stalls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Janet McN and afds are exactly right - "straps" are usually one price lower than where they are situated if you follow me and you can end up sitting quite low as they are getting pretty old - you also need to be quick on your feet as you would be "last in and first out" - you may be better off going down a price and getting a rear row seat in a box and then standing up & leaning on the side wall for the crucial parts of the show - I have done that before now The centre Amphi has perfect sightlines but if you are taller than 4'6" and over 6 stone you will feel like a sardine in a tightly packed tin!! I vowed never again! Best of luck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice everyone - really helpful! I'm pretty small (5 foot!) so lack of leg room never poses much of a problem for me. I think I might try for amphi, but it's useful to know there are photo views of the seats on the website when booking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh ! I think I can help !

 

Here is the seating chart for Garnier next year :

Garnier1213_legende.jpg

 

and the prices that go with it

 

The rules of the house are : even-numbered seats are on the left half of the chart, uneven-numbered ones on the right side.

For the orchestra, balcony and amphitheatre : the lower the number, the closer to the stage you are. You don't have any indication of the row. (for example, Amphitheatre 17 is on the first row of the Amphitheatre)

For the boxes (loges), you have first the floor, then the box number, then the seat (ie 3emes loges de côté 16 1)

Again, even-numbered boxes on the left side, uneven ones on the right side, starting from the stage.

Inside each box, seats are numbered : first row 1-2, second row 3-4, third row 5-6. Seats 1, 3 and 5 are always those closer to the center of the house. This is not important for the first row, but it does make a difference for the third row as boxes are separated with a wall, especially if you are in a side box.

 

I obviously haven't tried every seat, and some people may have other preferences, but here's what I think :

 

Categorie 1 : in red on the chart (plus Optima, but this is not used as of yet for ballets) : it's where you have the most seats, and the best ones, if you are ready to pay the price. As said, the orchestra (stalls) lacks a bit of rake, and the seat are aligned so if you happen to be seating behind a tall and bald man who likes to seat very straight (like for example my father), it can be unpleasant. The balcony seats do not have this problem. The first row seats in the boxes (loges) are excellent, if further away, and you are a bit high in the 3d loges (this year those seats were in second categorie).

Seats to avoid : second row in the boxes. You pay the same price as those in front of you, but are seated behind them.

 

Categorie 2 : in darker blue. It includes foldaway seats in the orchestra and a lot of second-row seats in the boxes, which I try to avoid as a rule.

I also avoid the baignoires, whatever the price.

 

Categorie 3 : in yellow. Again, avoid seats 3-4 in boxes. Be also careful of the boxes in center (above number 25-26) : you'll be at the back, with 6 people before you.

First rows of the side boxes are alright.

 

Categorie 4 : in light blue. Most of them are in the amphitheatre, which is, as said, very uncomfortable : narrow folding seats, without a back, no room for your legs, but at the same time seats are high so your feet may not fully touch the floor. And it can be very hot. Best seats in the categorie are 3d and 4th loges on the side (the higher the number the better)

 

Categorie 5 : in purple. If you don't mind standing, those are the best seats for the price : third row in 1st, 2d and 3d loges, first row in 4th loges. Avoid second row of 4th loges, you'll have to stand, but without support.

 

Categorie 6 : in green. Not sold on the Internet. Restricted view everywhere. A few seats are good, but good luck getting them. Do not buy "stalles" or 5th loges for ballet.

 

Boxes to avoid : anything not first row in boxes 23 and 24 : they have a column that restricts the view a lot.

 

Do not buy tickets from resellers in front of Garnier : black market is illegal. It is legal to buy and sell tickets as long as they're sold at the indicated price or cheaper. The Opera does not take tickets back, but has a secure website where you can sell (for free) or buy (with a commission) tickets here

 

The website is awful, especially compared to the new ROH one, and you cannot choose your exact seat, merely the section and categorie.

Be also aware that not all seat are sold on the Internet : it is always useful to call if you don't find anything to your satisfaction on the website. A lot of times seats are also made available later, so it is always worth checking the website regularly. Of course, the closer you get to performance day, most seats will only be in categorie 1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I may have painted it darker than it really is, most seats are good. The amphitheatre gives a very good view, and most people don't seem to mind second row in boxes, even if personally I prefer to pay less and stand up.

Mostly though I would recommend to avoid 3d categorie, which I don't think is worth the price difference with 4th categorie. If you are going to splurge, go for 1 or 2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah ! That could be fun, in a very dark way, especially if the opera on stage is Andrea Chénier.

But no, the baignoires are just boxes on the same level as the orchestra seats. I don't like them because, despite feeling close to the dancers, the acoustics are not good, and the low ceiling really cuts the volume of the stage, it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always book a decent front row centre stage facing box if I can. Stalls are OK I only did them once but not much rake. Forget anything too close to the stage at the sides as you wont see much. Worst seat I ever had was in the Baignoires nearest to the stage - the overhang kills the view. The theatre is boiling hot as well and generally very cramped and poorly ventilated.

The Amphi is to be avoided at all costs as it is unbearably uncomfortable - your knees are in the person in front's shoulders the "seats" are a bench no more than about 6 inches wide and hard and the backrest is the same - I vowed never again after a the torture of sitting there - don't do it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Amelie as well for you detailed analysis of the house - I often wonder why the Opera Garnier has no seating plan with the numbers of seats on it online and also why you cannot chose your own seat - every time I get a survey from them I ask for this option! I have had seat 3 in a box and been put on the front row and I have definitely had number 2 and been put on row 2 to my fury! It is a really confusing illogical system or maybe the ushers don't really know the seat numbers properly either way I think it is time for a change!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice everyone! My mum did the actual booking bit because I was at work and she found the website extremely difficult to use (as has been said) - she tried to get loge seats but it gave us amphi instead. Oh well! At least it'll be a good view, and I'm small so hopefully won't get too squashed, and if it's uncomfortable, well, it'll be an experience...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...