Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 21: Opera-Haussmann-Saint Lazare

Stroll 21 Galeries Lafayette Haussmann dome

Quick Description: Opera Garnier, the adjacent grand department stores, nearby sites.  

Where: Center of the Right Bank from Place de l’Opera to Gare Saint Lazare.

Start at Place de l’Opera, outside Metro station Opera (#3, #7, #8 lines). End at Gare Saint Lazare, the site of Metro station Saint Lazare (#3, #12, #13, #14 lines).    

Duration: 30 min walk, @2-4 hrs with venue visits, shopping.  Two Early Departure Options, one after Opera Garnier, the other after the department stores.

Best Days: Wed – Sat.

Best Time to Start: 10am – 11am.

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Connects: by Metro rides of varying lengths to Stroll 13 (Musee D’Orsay to Musee Rodin), or Stroll 15 (Concorde-Tuileries-Vendome), or Stroll 16 (Concorde-Madeleine-Expiatoire), or Stroll 17 (Concorde to Place de l’Alma), or Stroll 23 (Batignolles), or Stroll 24 (Montmartre), or Stroll 25 (Pigalle aka SOPI), or Stroll 27 (Arts et Metiers to Republique), or Stroll 28 (Canal Saint Martin), or two standalone sites, Cimetiere Pere Lachaise and Musee Jacquemart-Andre.

Past and Present: Opera Garnier and the adjacent “Grand Magasins” (department stores) on Boulevard Haussmann were the epicenter of the Belle Epoque’s glittering high society from the late 1800s until WWI, and today they still create a compelling scene.  The opulent opera building ranks as one of the city’s premier attractions both for performances and daytime visits, and the department stores – Galeries Lafayette Haussmann and Printemps – offer world-class shopping in beautiful Art Nouveau buildings with huge glass domed rotundas.  The neighborhood also boasts additional shopping at the Rue de Caumartin pedestrian mall, plus a free perfume museum and the 18th century Church of Saint Louis d’Antin, with a large collection of religious artworks.  Nearby is the Gare Saint Lazare railway station made famous by Impressionist painters and today featuring modern sculptures outside and a shopping mall inside.  Four dining options are suggested, and there are many more in the area. 

Attractions (in order):

  • Place de l’Opera at Blvd des Capucines:  The magnificent Opera Garnier building sits in a broad plaza built to reveal it, facing toward the Boulevard des Capucines, one of the storied “Grand Boulevards.”  
  • Fragonard Musee du Parfum: #9 Rue Scribe near Opera Garnier.  Museum of perfume.  Daily 9am-6pm, free. 
  • Opera Garnier: Visitors’ entrance at Place Diaghilev, opposite side from Place de l’Opera.  Spectacular, ornate 19th century opera house. Daily 10am-5pm, €14, €10 various categories of persons, free to children under 12.  Admission price includes access to the whole interior, plus a museum of Opera and Ballet performances on site.
  • Galeries Lafayette Haussmann: #40 Blvd Haussmann at Rue de la Chaussée d’Antin.  Landmark department store with striking Art Nouveau design and giant glass domed roof.  (There is also a newer addition focused on menswear next door at #48 Blvd Haussmann).  Mon-Sat 9:30am-8:30pm, Sun 11am-7pm.  
  • Printemps: #64 Blvd Haussmann at Rue Charras, and #2 Rue du Havre. Landmark department store in two buildings with striking Art Nouveau design and giant glass domed roof, plus a restaurant on the rooftop terrace (see “Dining Suggestions”).  Mon-Sat 9:30am-8pm, Sun 11am-8pm.  
  • Church of Saint Louis d’Antin: #63 Rue de Caumartin pedestrian zone, near Printemps. This 18th century church boasts a large religious art collection.  Open Mon-Fri 7:20am-8pm, Sat 9am-7:30pm, Sun 8:45am-1pm, 5:15-10pm, free.   
  • Rue de Caumartin shops and stalls: Pedestrian zone, just beyond the church.  Most open Mon-Sat.  
  • Gare Saint Lazare Shopping Mall#13 Rue d’Amsterdam, end of route.  Operating 19th century railroad terminal building and hub for multiple Metro lines.  The station and its trains were favorite subjects of Impressionist painters.  Today it also features two modern sculptures outside and a shopping mall inside, with a variety of chain retailers, restaurants and supermarkets  Station open daily 5am-11pm.  Mall shops open Mon-Fri 7:30am-8pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-7pm, restaurants to 11pm.


Dining Suggestions (in order):

  • Café de la Paix: #5 Place de l’Opera.  Famous 150-year-old establishment.  French cuisine.  Elegant, traditional dining areas.  There is an inside restaurant (Daily 8-10:30am, Noon-3pm, 6-11pm 11:30pm Sat-Sun), and a terrace café (Daily 8-11am, 11:30am-11pm). Terrace café lunch average cost @€25-50.   
  • L’Entracte-Opera: #1 Rue Auber, opposite the side of Opera Garnier. French cuisine, salad plates, burgers, kid’s menu.  Handsome traditional rooms on two floors with views of the side of the opera house featuring the emperor’s entrance.  Mon-Fri 7am- Midnight, Sat 7:30am-Midnight, Sun 8am- 11pm.  Lunch prix-fixe @€21.   
  • Perruche: Printemps Dept. Store, #2 Rue du Havre.  (Also can be accessed from main store, at #48 Blvd Haussmann, via skywalk connection.)  Upscale restaurant and cocktail bar located on the store’s rooftop, with indoor and outdoor seating and expansive views.  Mon-Fri Noon-4pm, 7pm-2am, Sat-Sun Noon-1:30pm, 7pm-2am.  Average meal cost @€80 3 courses, plates to share @€12-25, cocktails @17, glass of wine @€8-15.  
  • Chongqing Cuisine: #2 Rue de Budapest, an atmospheric alley near Gare Saint Lazare.  Chinese cuisine.  Small, casual modern room.  Daily 11:30am-3pm, 6-10:30pm.  Moderate prices, e.g., @€9.5 per main dish.

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Stroll Map

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