Don Carlo at Opéra national de Paris
Les Arts Florissants' 2nd Performance of Giulio Cesare

Standing Room Adventures in Paris

Facade-opera-bastille * Notes *
Standing room at Opéra national de Paris is a fairly organized affair. I arrived at Opéra Bastille at around 4:30pm, asked where the standing room line was from the person at the information counter by the box office, and was directed to the main door. Outside near the gift shop door were four people, and it was clear they were the opera-goers I was looking for. After a few minutes some ladies also showed up and started organizing us by number. A sheet of paper was folded into 32 pieces, numbered, and cut into slips. I was given number 5, and then most everyone went their separate ways to get out of the cold, just leaving a few people to distribute numbers as they arrived.

The other opera standees were concerned by my lack of gloves, and after an hour I was encouraged to sit inside the gift shop to wait. Evidently, the time they open the doors varies from day to day. At around 6:15pm the 24 of us all got into line and were herded into the building to the two standing room ticket machines in the lobby. We went up two at a time, told the person supervising us if we wanted one or two places, and paid using coins or credit cards.

The standing places are not numbered, but there did not seem to be a mad dash for the best spots along the railing. As at the Met, there are layers of railings on the orchestra level. In Paris, however, the ushers are extremely helpful in finding standees seats. After the first intermission of Don Carlo I was given a seat in the middle of the rear orchestra, and was asked to climb over seat to take it.