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L'Opera Garnier, Paris

I visited the Opera Garnier and was pleasantly surprised by the way in which the general audience behaved. My experience with the attitudes of the French in public spaces has not been the most positive, as they have a closed off persona in public spaces. This public attitude is very different vibe than that of which you would experience in America. The way the people interact with each other on a daily basis has to do with their cultural norms which I respect. When I attended the a ballet performance as part of a CEA excursion I found a different attitude than I had previously experienced with the general French public. At the Opera Garnier the first thing that I noticed was the attire of the event. Many people were in floor length simple dresses or skirts. No garments to extravagant or goddy, however professional and polished nonetheless. Men were in simple suits or business attire and there were no jeans or casual wear. This is much different from the typical attire you would see in an American opera house or show place. The Americans would dress more casually and there would be a variety of dress ranging from overdressed in ball gowns to (in my opinion) underdressed in athletic wear. Although the performers cannot see what you are wearing, as a performer myself, I appreciate the fact that the French take the initiative to show their respect through the professional dress as a collective unit.


In addition to showing their respect through professional appropriate dress, The way in which the audience expressed their gratitude towards the performers was that of a respectable manner and much different than you would find in an American opera house or show place. At the close of each act, the audience respectfully clapped for approximately 5 minutes then remained seated in their chairs until the next act started despite the house lights being on. In America, in between acts if the house lights are on, that signals that you are allowed to get up from your seats and talk. Some audience members did choose to enter the lobby area during this time, and there were a few soft murmurs but largely the audience waited quietly in their seats, and without their phones. I was pleasantly surprised for the amount of respect and contentedness of the audience at the Opera Garnier. At the conclusion of the ballet the applauding continued for 20 whole minutes. No hooting or hollering , just applauding for 20 minutes.


In all, If you have the opportunity to see a ballet, opera, or other performance at the Opera Garnier, it will prove to be a memorable and enjoyable experience. Buying a ticket to see the architecture alone would be worth it !! Ticket prices range from about 30 euro to 500 euro for private seating. I sat in a 40 euro seat and I had a perfect view of the stage. TIP: if you are traveling alone or don't mind sitting alone you can head over to the box office on the morning of the performance and grab a discounted ticket for 10 euro!


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