Long-awaited restaurant opens in Paris Opera

paris opera

Palais Garnier in Paris - Photo Credit : Peter Rivera

After three attempts, beginning in 1875, the long-awaited restaurant of the Paris Opera is getting ready to open its doors on 27 June 2011 under the management of Pierre François Blanc. Numerous chefs’ names have been circulating regarding this coveted post.

The Chef who was finally chosen to take charge of the menu is the two-star Chef, Christophe Aribert. He has been working for twelve years at the restaurant “Les Terrasses”, in Uriage, close to Grenoble, where he discovered his real talent and passion for gastronomy. This lover of products of quality and audacious alliances loves to push perfectionism to the extreme. Each dish is precisely measured, offering the palate much sought-after flavours. Authenticity, strictness, creativity, and perfection are words that define the very personal work of Christophe Aribert.

Christophe Aribert (Photo credit: Totem Studio)

Christophe Aribert, two star Chef: “Today, the public doesn’t know me because I have always stayed away from the media. I am someone who is passionate and discrete. Accepting the L’Opéra, is no trivial thing: it is associating my name with a highly cultural place, a listed building of French national heritage. For me this makes a lot of sense. I am very enthusiastic about the idea of being the first to write a menu in a place so highly charged with history”.

Pierre François Blanc, restaurant owner: “in the course of our search for a Chef we had incredible encounters around the whole of France. But it was Christophe Aribert who seduced us with his approach to cuisine, both contemporary and classic, that fitted, in perfect harmony with the spirit that we wanted for this unique restaurant”.

The team at Paris Opéra

To create the menu, Chef Aribert has worked, in collaboration with the Executive Chef Yann Tanneau (Castel Beau Site, Mama Shelter), Sous-Chef Didier Quennouelle (Royal Mirage, Le Fouquet’s) and the Pastry Chef Hervé Moreau (Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Rostang), who form the heart of the L’Opéra team. Together, they designed the future menu of the restaurant, in the image of the spatial architecture, where the contemporary forms imagined by Odile Decq, respond to the classic forms of Charles Garnier. One can expect regional products such as lobster, whiting, and sole (after all, Yann Tanneau was born in Brittany), as well as trout and guinea fowl for Christophe Aribert who hails from Isère. Around the bar, the cocktail list will follow the same adaptation. Here, as well, the very classic “Martini Charles” responds to the surprising and disconcerting “Phantom by Martini”.

An architectural place

On the architectural side, the restaurant is designed by French architect Odile Decq. It is located behind the pillars of the eastern side. The restaurant’s façade undulates like a simple veil of glass placed behind the pillars. No visible structure, only a simple steel blade holds the totally transparent glass in place, as if by magic. Inside, a mezzanine was designed as a kind of vessel slipped beneath the dome. Its curves refer to the shape of a fluid ghost. The space is open and opens the view to the outside. The red down the steps of the staircase so theatrical and spread across the black soil. Everything has been created to match the quality of the restaurant located in the Opera Garnier, without mimicking the existing architecture, respecting it but actually affirming its contemporary character.

Photo Credit : ODBC / Thomas Series

The L’Opéra restaurant will be accessible to everyone, directly from Place Jacques Rouché, every day of the week, from 7am until midnight.

Place Jacques Rouché
75009 Paris, France

Opening : june 2011 A la carte is around 60 euros (starter + main dish+ dessert)


The Palais Garnier was inaugurated on 5 January 1875. Since it was opened, the architect, Charles Garnier, envisaged the creation of a restaurant. His project was not realised due to insufficient funds. Two other attempts were made by directors of the theatre, in 1973, by Rolf Liebermann, followed in 1992 by Pierre Bergé and Hugues Gall, but these projects failed for the same reasons. In March 2007, Opera director Gerard Mortier, in the face of international competition from opera houses, also with the wish to open up opera to a new public, decided to re-launch the project through an invitation to tender.

After 16 months of negotiations, the offer presented by Pierre François Blanc was accepted by the Paris Opera on 1 July 2008 and almost a year later, the architectural project of Odile Decq received the backing of the National Commission of Historic Monuments (on 15 June 2009). The restaurant will be situated at street level, Place Jacques Rouché, and at the junction of rue Halévy and rue Gluck, in a space called “Descente à couvert”. Construction, which started in the summer of 2010, will finish 27 June 2011, allowing the dining room of the restaurant to open its doors, a continuation of the history of the Palais Garnier, after 136 years.


About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.