Lyon Opera House (Opéra National de Lyon) is an arts hub and architectural gem noted for its combination of a modern shell and 18th-century facade. To fully experience it, attend a performance—from musical theater to dance. But whether it's to marvel at the building, or see a show, a visit to the opera should be on your Lyon itinerary.
The opera house was re-designed by architect Jean Nouvel—it's also known as Nouvel Opera House. Nouvel kept some of the original 18th-century arcades and edifice but added a contemporary addition packed with performance spaces. To see the building, consider a Segway tour. Tours typically pass the opera and nearby sights such as Place des Terreaux. The best way to experience the opera is to see a show. Book tickets in advance to ensure a seat.
Things to Know Before You Go
- With the Lyon City Card you get Lyon Opera tickets at a discount and free Saturday tours.
- Take advantage of views and creative cocktails at the opera's panoramic bar, Les Muses—open Wednesday to Saturday.
- The opera provides dedicated seating for wheelchair users, with advance reservation.
How to Get There
The Lyon Opera is centrally located and easily accessible via public transportation. Take the A or C metro lines to the Hôtel de Ville - Louis Pradel stop. Alternatively, you can take the bus, since several lines stop nearby. Find the Lyon Opera at 1 Place de la Comédie. It's a short walk from Place des Terreaux, and across from City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Lyon).
When to Get There
The Lyon Opera is open from 12pm to 7pm, Tuesday to Saturday. You can visit on Saturday for a French-language tour, or stop by anytime to see the outside of the building. Visit in the evening for a drink, but make a reservation before you arrive—the opera house bar is popular, especially on weekends. For a performance, be sure to arrive one hour before the show begins to allow time to find your seats.
Visiting the Bartholdi Fountain
Just steps from the Lyon Opera is a dramatic 19th-century fountain by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Recently renovated, the Bartholdi Fountain depicts a woman atop a chariot being pulled by powerful horses. Stop to snap a photo at this popular meeting place and perhaps recharge with a coffee at one of the plaza's outdoor cafes. The fountain is free to visit.