J. Byard - March Chagall's painted ceiling in the Palais Garnier's auditorium
Backstage at the Paris Opera House
Behind the glittering façade of the Palais Garnier, the secrets of its construction and history are just as captivating as what takes place onstage. You’ll discover its breath-taking public spaces as well as its hidden places – like the cabestans room, fifteen meters beneath the stage, which holds the ingenious 19th-century machinery used to manage backdrops and special effects. Descend further to find the underground lake (technically a giant water tank) that inspired “The Phantom of the Opera” and acts as a ballast to balance the weight of the structure and offsetting pressure from the groundwater beneath.
Our expert storyteller also brings to life the backstage scene at the Foyer de la Dance, where wealthy visitors went to meet female dancers, and explains why Marc Chagall's spectacular painted ceiling was so controversial when first unveiled in 1964.