Visiting Paris in summer, but can't stand the long long lines at all the popular attractions? Here's something else for you!
I recently spent a week in Paris, the city that was my first „big“ city, way before London was a thing for me. Now, I've visited Paris about a two dozen times, because it's exactly in the middle between where I grew up and my choice hometown of London. After attempting to get into the catacombs two days in a row and being faced with a 3 – 4 hr wait in the queue in the boiling sun, my friend suggested we check out the Paris Opera house - the traditional one near the metro "Opera", not the modern high tech Opera Bastille.
The opera house is open for visitors from 10 am - 5 pm during the week. The entrance fee is €10, but it's definitely worth shelling out a little extra for the audio guide, which is a fancy multimedia guide (admittedly, with sometimes difficult navigation) - it's a lovely tool to explore this beautiful space in your own time!
Being a fan of all things theatre and stage performance, I like to see plays wherever I travel, but when that's not possible, a lot of operas and state theatres allow visitors on guided or self-guided tours. Whether you like theatre or not, it's worth a visit to get a glimpse of life of Paris' high society in previous centuries, different art styles and Chagall's stunning and surprisingly modern ceiling painting in the auditorium. The guide even throws in a bit of pop culture – this is the opera that the Phantom of the Opera was (fictionally) set in!
P.S.: Catacombs, I'll return to you one winter, when all the holidaymarkers are gone!