A Peek Inside the Opéra Bastille

I thought it was important to do something special with my daughter, so when we had the opportunity to get reduced-priced tickets to the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, I took the plunge and got two tickets.

bastille21I promised Juliet I would get her a party dress to wear, but I didn’t have enough time to go to La Defense where there were more choices. So I got her a simple red velvet dress that she was completely enchanted with.

bastille22“Mom, it’s just like the curtains that Maria made into clothes in the Sound of Music!” she gushed.

“I’m so .. um .. glad, honey.”

Honestly, I was really nervous to go. It meant leaving my house (always hard for me), driving into Paris at night, with me as the sole person responsible for two young girls. (Juliet brought a friend). But I did it. We even managed the Arc de Triomphe with its famous roundabout where traffic coming into it have priority over those who’re already inside. I didn’t even flinch when taxis came straight at me, going top-speed. I just slowed down and let them pass. It was the getting lost and finding the parking lot that stressed me out a bit. But we did it.

The Opéra Bastille is not to be confused with the opera house “Garnier” that is gilded and located more centrally in Paris, next to Galerie Lafayette. This opera house is in the 12th arrondissement where the prison Bastille was located and stormed during the French revolution.

bastille01The underbelly of the opéra retains some of it’s rebellious flair.

bastille03But once we were there, I fully relaxed.

I'm relaxed. Do I look relaxed?

I’m relaxed. Do I look relaxed? Mommy curled my hair, and then daddy asked, “Will it stay like that even after you wash it?” Oh naive daddy, who grew up with four brothers and no sisters . . .

The halls were well-lit and teeming with people.

bastille18And we found some other people we knew that attend the conservatory with us, and our seats were happily all together.

bastille13The opéra opened in 1989 and everything is fairly new. The ceiling

bastille07the balconies.

bastille06The seating was very steep and I would not have liked to be seated right on the edge.

bastille05Here’s the pit orchestra (halloo down there)

bastille04And once the ballet started, we could have been anywhere in the world.




Even in a fairy tale.

bastille15This was a great memory we made together



And there was only one complaint to spoil the entire evening.

bastille12I see the evil witch. But where was the dragon???

* these pictures were taken with my daughter’s point and shoot because I didn’t want to bring my big clunky one.


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I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in France, Tourism, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
20 comments on “A Peek Inside the Opéra Bastille
  1. Jen says:

    I adore the ballet. I’m counting down the days until my oldest is old enough to go to the ballet with me. Juliet looks so excited about her special night out with you. xoxo
    Jen recently posted…Me too moments – the magic of LTYMMy Profile

  2. Jennifer says:

    That is so fun. Cady would LOVE to do something like that. I really need to make the time to take her to these kinds of things (even if it isn’t in Paris).
    Jennifer recently posted…Love is in the Air, Old School BloggingMy Profile

  3. She looks so sweet!
    I adore ballet and Opera so I’m hoping these kind of outings are in my future.
    And those balconies…they give me vertigo just looking at your pictures…
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently posted…“You should write about it” she said.My Profile

  4. Andrea says:

    Beautiful! The costumes take my breath away. How fun! But I totally get your nervousness about getting there.

    And, now you know that Juliet likes clothing made from old drapes, well… you know what that means! Dust off that old sewing machine!
    Andrea recently posted…Old School Blogging: Valentine’s Day EditionMy Profile

  5. angela says:

    I love this post! Abbey and I go to the (not at all fancy) production of the Nutcracker together, and she has asked to go see Sleeping Beauty this spring. What a lovely evening (and OH the COSTUMES.)
    angela recently posted…Changing tideMy Profile

  6. Ann says:

    I love to go to downtown Los Angeles for the theater; sometimes I’ve even had the chance to go to the Segerstrom Center in Orange County. I’ve never had the chance to go to the ballet though–it looks so beautiful!
    Ann recently posted…Spring FlowersMy Profile

    • ladyjennie says:

      Hi Ann,

      Welcome to my blog! I don’t know anything about the theatre/ballet in Los Angeles, but I imagine that once the curtain goes up, it’s beautiful no matter where you are.

  7. Oh, this looks like an amazing experience! So beautiful!
    I have never been to a ballet before, but I think I would brave the city for a glimpse of this, too. :)
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted…Old School Blogging – Valentine EditionMy Profile

  8. Poppy says:

    Unless it’s a monster truck show, I’m always responsible for the cultural outings with my kids – my husband wouldn’t know how to do their hair either. Your daughter looks so much like you in the first picture. Perhaps it is the pose? :)
    Poppy recently posted…Risks of Outdoor Running (Hint: I’m Not the Only Cougar in Our Hood)My Profile

  9. This is simply beautiful. Everything about it.
    If you weren’t younger than I am, I’d wish you were my mother and taking me to the ballet.

    Instead, I’ll settle for being your older friend :-)
    (And I can still wear a red dress on occasion, right?)

    julie gardner recently posted…The Space BetweenMy Profile

  10. oh jennie, I’m dying that she was thrilled she looked like a curtain! so incredibly sweet. I just love that the two of you did this together. xx.
    sarah reinhart recently posted…Photo Tip Friday: the difference between snapshots and portraitsMy Profile

  11. Leigh Ann says:

    So beautiful! I think next year will be the year I take the girls to see the Nutcracker around Christmas time. I can’t wait!
    Leigh Ann recently posted…a running playlist: 80s alternative editionMy Profile

I'm Jennie. Welcome to A Lady in France! I write books, and also this blog on faith, French culture and recipes ... ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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