PARIS — Opéra

The 9th arrondissement is a lively district with a mixture of areas. In the south you have the Grands Boulevards area with its huge department stores and the original Opéra which the district is named for. In contrast to this in the north you will find the red light and cheap shopping district of Pigalle.

The sights found here are:
Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie
Folies Bergere
Musée Grévin
Galeries Lafayette
Fragonard Musée du Parfum
Palais Garnier
Paris Olympia
Printemps
Musée National Gustave Moreau
Musée de la Vie Romantique
Pigalle

Musée de la Franc-Maçonnerie
This museum is found in the huge and impressive Grande Orient de France building. It is a museum about the secretive world of Freemasonary. There are documents tracing the establishment of this order in France from its beginnings here in the 18th century as well as objects and symbols. Some of the more important items found here are Voltaire’s masonic apron and Lafayette’s masonic sword.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.museefm.org

Folies Bergere
This is one of Paris’ most famous cabaret shows. It opened in 1869 as Les Folies Trevise which was the name of the street near it. Some famous people have performed here including the legendary Josephine Baker, Colette, Charlie Chaplin, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Édith Piaf and Elton John. The shows here have always featured elaborate costumes that were often very revealing and there was a lot of nudity involved.
For information about the Folies Bergere visit the website at: http://www.foliesbergere.com (in French only)

Traveller's Tip

If you are coming to see a show here be aware that there are a lot of seats with restricted viewing such as posts and pillars that get in the way. Probably best to book the more expensive seats to avoid this or ask if your view will be restricted from the seat you are booking.

Musée Grévin
This museum is a wax museum that shows waxwork figures representing in minute detail celebrities both past and present. There are six theme areas with around 300 figures. Some of the more famous figures include Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Julia Roberts as well as many heads of states and other famous characters. The museum was created in the 1870s by a journalist, Arthur Meyer with the help of the cartoonist, sculptor and costume designer, Alfred Grévin.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.grevin.com/homepage

Traveller's Tip

The entrance fee to the Musée Grévin is rather pricey at €21 but so are other famous wax museums such as Madam Tussaud’s in London and you can spend from 1.5 to 2 hours here but if you do come make sure you visit the Palais des Mirages (Hall of Mirrors) which is a light and sound show that was created specially for the 1900 World Fair.
  • Children will love the second show which features a magician.
    Galeries Lafayette

    Galeries Lafayette
    This huge department store is a Parisian landmark that has been around since the late 19th century and worth visiting for the stunning building alone. It is ten stories of beautiful fashion including some of the top designers as well as home decor and gourmet food. The store is centred around a beautiful glass and steel dome with a magnificent Art-Nouveau staircase and the whole building is classified as a historic monument. The food section is mouth watering and is a great place to pick up a meal. There are several cafes and restaurants found in the store as well.
    For information about Galeries Lafayette visit the website at: http://www2.galerieslafayette.com/international/goFolder.do?f=home_en

    Traveller's Tip

    A must for any visit is the Lafayette Gourmet food hall which is found on the second floor of the men’s store where you can buy a whole meal to take home or a snack.
  • For a fantastic view over the Paris rooftops visit the terrace on the 8th floor.

    Fragonard Musée du Parfum
    This museum is found in a 19th century townhouse where you can learn about the history of perfume making. One of the highlights is the collection of perfume bottles ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Admission is free and you can buy perfume on the ground floor.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.fragonard.com

    Palais Garnier

    Palais Garnier
    Palais Garnier also known as Opéra Garnier was the world’s largest theatre and opera house when it opened in 1875. The building was designed by Charles Garnier for Napoléon 111 and the decoration both inside and out is very lavish. The inside features a huge marble staircase and a ceiling covered in mosaic and the auditorium is full of red velvet and gold. If you like chandeliers the ones found here are magnificent. You can visit by yourself or take a guided tour. Information about visits are found on the website.
    For information about Palais Garnier visit the website at: http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/

    Paris Olympia
    This is a music hall which was founded in 1888 by Joseph Oller who created the Moulin Rouge. It has played host to a variety of entertainment including circuses, ballet, operettas, music and at times it has been a movie theatre. It was in danger of being torn down until 1993 when it was renovated back to the original. Many famous names have performed here including Édith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Marlene Dietrich, The Grateful Dead, Judy Garland, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Madonna and many many more.
    For information about the Paris Olympia visit the website at: http://www.olympiahall.com/web/spectacles.asp?lang=en&cal=0

    Printemps

    Printemps
    Another of the large department stores in Paris. Printemps opened in 1865 and is an example of Art-Nouveau architecture with its glorious glass dome built in the 1930s as part of a World Expo. It is a neighbour of its rival the Galeries Lafayette and it also has a wonderful top level cafe with glorious views.
    For information about the Printemps visit the website at: http://departmentstoreparis.printemps.com

    Musée National Gustave Moreau
    This is the former home and workplace of the artist Gustave Moreau. He left it to be used as a museum which it became in 1895. If you are a fan of his work then this museum is the place for you. There is also a shop where you can buy reproductions of some of his paintings.
    For more information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.musee-moreau.fr/index_u1l2.htm

    Musée de la Vie Romantique
    This museum is the former home of the artist Ary Scheffer. Its collections give visitors a look into the artistic, literary and musical life of the romantic period of history. There are works and personal items of such people as Chopin, Délacroix and George Sand. There is a lovely garden cafe that is great in the summer months.
    For more information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.paris.fr/portail/loisirs/Portal.lut?page_id=5851

    Pigalle
    This area is the old red light district of Paris. It was named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. The area is famous for being a tourist district and you will find many sex shops on Place Pigalle and prostitutes ply their trade in the surrounding side streets. The famous cabaret theatre the Moulin Rouge is found in this area as well. It is an area that was once inhabited by some famous artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. The area is a mixture of the sleazy areas around Place Pigalle and the area that is becoming very chic to live in as well as the tourist spots frequented by people doing ‘Paris by Night’ tours and around the Moulin Rouge area.