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Advice wanted: How to purchase tickets on the day of the performance

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Hi Paris friends, your advice is desperately wanted!

Having had any luck with the POB's website to book on-line for the Bejart pro. for quite some time, I may have to go to paris without a reserved seat. I doubt it very much Bejart pro. will be a sold-out even on the first night, if so can I simply turn up at Bastille and buy a ticket on the day? I seem to recall for a sold-out performance return tickets were sold from one & half hour before the performance, some years ago. Can I presume that as long as the Box Office has something to sell they will be on offer any time of the day - or will they withheld tickets at some stage?

Would any one kindly advise how the system works right now?

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Naoko, there probably are some posters here that know better than me how it works, as it happened to me to buy tickets on the day of the performance only once or twice and so I don't remember much of the details... But yes, in general it's possible to buy some tickets on the day of the performance. I think that officially the box-office re-opens at 6:45 PM (the performances are at 7:30 PM) but I'm not sure of the hour, and in general people start queueing there earlier (how early depends also on how popular the performance is). But at least you can try going to the box-office during the day (between 11 AM and 6:30 PM),

Bastille is big and so it's likely that there would be at least a few available seats (and one advantage of Bastille over Garnier is that even from the cheapest seats one can see the stage quite well).

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Estelle, many thanks for your very quick reply. At the moment there seems to be quite a few choices left for us (according to the website), so I may be able to get a ticket one way or the other.... It's a relief to hear that general view is better at Bastille, but with luck I'd rather stick to the front rows in Orchestra Stalls. Bastille is too huge - once I sat in the area slightly rear from centre and still felt like left behind, as if things happening on the stage too remote and irrelevant....

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Hi Naoko!

About getting tickets:

-You can try getting some at Bastille or Garnier (any of the two if you're going in advance) if you want them in advance. It starts at 11am, but try to be there before, because there will be many people. At Garnier, after the main entrance of the building, go to the right and once you're facing the shop, go to the left of it, there is another big door, and it's there. At Bastille, it's on the right side of the opera, and if you arrive before they open, you'll be queueing outside. They might tell you they don't have any tickets and it's sold out.

-If you don't get any before the performance, no panic: they WILL sell some just before the performance. They always have more tickets, the people from the opera selling the tickets told me so. You will have to go where the performance is, so in this case, Bastille, but, instead of queueind at the side, you go to the main entrance, go in, and go to the right. There are some sorts of cabins, I don't know how to call them (even in french) with shutters down. This is where the tickets are sold. There are some seats there, so if you get there early enough, you'll be able to sit. There is the same thing on the left, BUT this is for reduced price tickets for students...and the priority is to the people buying full price tickets, so my advice: even if you would be able to get reduced price tickets, don't (I myself could, but it's just not worth it, because you're not even sure to get tickets, but you still have to queue). Another thing: they say they start selling the tickets 45 minutes before the performance (18:45 pm), but, if you want the best choice, be there much before (I usually try for about 4:30 pm or 5 pm, and I'm 2nd in the queue. You might say it's crazy and boring, but since they sell all the categories of tickets, even on the day itself, you can get some of the best seats if you get there before the others;) ).

I think I've said everything now.

Good luck!

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Hi Su-lian, thanks muchly for a very detailed tip!

>>-If you don't get any before the performance, no panic: they WILL sell some just before the performance. They always have more tickets, the people from the opera selling the tickets told me so.

Does this mean that generally more tickets are available at the last minute? If so that's all the more better for me - I wouldn't mind queuing for longer hours if I could get a better seat...

I'll print out your message and bring it with me to Paris!

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Well, I'm not Su-Lian, but I may be of some help:

Yes, Su-Lian is right, there always are some tickets to buy before the performance, I did an internship and a schoolwork on the POB, so I'm aware of that.

But you have to queue for a long time if you want to purchase some of them. Generaly, you can buy some very good seats. And your chances of getting a good seat are better if you want only one ticket! Good luck!

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You're welcome!

Well, yes, I would say that if you don't get seats at the very beginning of the opening date (either by internet, correspondance or telephone) and you have time to queue, then queue, because if you're there early enough, you're sure to get what you want (or very nearly sure), while if you try to get seats later after the opening, you're not sure to them. They have a system where a certain number of seats of each category is sold by first correspondance and internet, then by telephone, and the rest is sold at the counters starting from two weeks before the performance, plus other tickets (once again from each category) which they keep until the last minute (for sale for employees or associates...) and which they sell 45 minutes before the performance. There are always some of these left, so this is why you're sure to get anything you want if you go there on the day of the performance, whilst you're not if you try at that sort of intermediate period when a lot of tickets have already been sold, if you see what I mean.

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This topic is from so long ago that I wonder if the procedure is the same. As I read the posts above it seems that if I want to get standby tickets (Opera Garnier) I should:

1. Try lining up early morning for the 11 AM window opening


2. Try lining up 4:30 or 5:00 for a 6:45 PM window opening


The chances are better with option #2

Is that correct?

And do they require cash?


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As far as I know, the 11 AM opening is for buying all sorts of tickets (not only tickets for the same day), while the 6:45 PM window opening is for tickets for the same day only, but I hope someone better informed than me will be able to reply (I don't live in Paris any longer and haven't bought tickets at the box office for a while...)

Anyway, as far as I know, they do accept credit cards (I bought tickets several times at the 6:45 PM opening with a credit card and there never was any problem), and probably checks too (but that might not be useful for you, if you don't have a bank account in France).

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Yipeee! My daughter and I just returned from Paris yesterday and we had good luck!

We went to line up Friday night at Opera Garnier for same day tickets (Cinderella) and ended up in the 8th row center. I went to the window at 3 pm and I asked where I should start the line for the 6:45 ticket waiting. The woman at the window had just received 2 orchestra tickets and she sold them to us right on the spot. I felt like Cinderella myself!!!! Fabulous, fabulous.

Thanks to previous responders I knew the procedure and I am sure it helped. :dunno:

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I am so happy to read these posts, as I am going to be in Paris for about 10 days soon, and want very much to see Cendrillion! We may also end up getting tickets at the last minute -- a friend in Paris will try and get them for us before we get there -- but if she can't, at least I will know it may be possible to get them at the last minute.

I and our friend tried to get the tickets online, but there were no more. I also tried getting information in English, but couldn't find the site in English, as I once had. (Same for the Musee d'Orsay!)

Two questions -- waiting on line in the a.m. or later, how many tickets can one person buy? There may be 4 of us. AND -- if some in the party are seniors, do they have to be there to buy senior-discount tickets?

I hope someone has the answer!!!!

Thank you!

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You can definitely buy 4 tickets on the day of the performance... assuming there are 4 available ! You may want to come early in the afternoon and queue for the 6:45 opening, if the box office doesn't have any tickets to sell earlier.

Senior-discount tickets are given only around 7:30 (that's the same queue as for students), and only if there are tickets left at that time. People who have a "Pass" (there's a card for seniors) are given priority. Cinderella sold out months in advance, and therefore there will probably be virtually no discount tickets available - maybe one or two, at the very last minute, and none for those who don't have the Pass. Yes, seniors have to be there to buy the tickets (it's at the last minute anyway), but that's definitely not a safe option - you might want to get 4 tickets at regular price !

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Just want to say thanks. I will be in Paris in a few weeks, and may have a chance to see La Fille Mal Gardee. Online tickets are only offered in the top price category, and as the only performance is on our day of arrival (after an overnight flight) I don't want to risk spending lots of money and then being too sleepy to enjoy the ballet. Thanks to these tips, I know what to expect. What a great resource you all are!

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Does anyone have any information on reduced tickets for students? I am going to try to go to see the Paris Opera Ballet (for the first time) in the fall and I was considering buying one ticket ahead of time and trying to get a day-of ticket for another day of the trip, if it's possible.

Also, does anyone know when they usually announce casting for specific days? For the ballet I want to see (Les Enfants du Paradis), they've announced three dancers for each role, which is fine, but will they only announce casting for specific days closer to the performances? I'll be happy to see any cast but I'm just wondering when the announcement will be & if I should hold out on buying tickets till they name the casts. (I'd have waited but I just saw online the Royal Ballet has casting up for Manon and Swan Lake, so I just wanted to check.)

And if you have any tips for a first-time visitor to the Opera Garnier, I'd love to hear them :)

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There aren't specific tickets for students. Instead, there are some tickets sold at a reduced cost if you're 28 years old or less.

There are two ways to get these tickets:

1) to buy a pass "opera-jeunes" for about 30 euros, which isn't worth if you don't get often to POB. It will allow you to get for some performances cheap tickets

2) to queue before a performance in order to get last minutes tickets that are sold 15 minutes before each performance at at very modest price (about 12 euros) if you're young enough.

Casts for each performance will be on line but they may be available only one week before the beginning of the actual performances ! So I will strongly advise you try to get tickets when they're still available on the web. Les enfants du Paradis will be the one of the season's biggest events with Oneguin and the NYCB's tour, if not the biggest.

If you have never been to Garnier, I would say you need to be enough in advance to visit the theater, and, wich is the more important, to feel it and try to get its magic. You don't need to be formal, jeans are perfectly fine. The audience may look more relaxed than what you're used to. You can ask for a map in the main hall.

Enjoy :)

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I hope it's alright for me to revive this old thread, not sure if I should start a new one. I have two tickets for La Fille Mal Gardee in July, but a serious health thing has come up and we may not be able to travel. Is there any way I can return the tickets short of going to the box office? The Opera website says no refunds or exchanges, but it also advises people looking for tickets to keep checking because they may become available. I find this very confusing. Hope someone can help!

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My daughter will be in Paris and is desperatley hoping to get a single ticket for the ballet for the evening of Thursday Oct. 18, 2012, for the Balanchine triple bill. This is the only day that she is there that the ballet is on.

She looked online and it is showing no tickets availale. Does anyone know how she could get her hands on one? Do they sell rush seats on the day of the show? If so, what are the current times to line up and where does she go? She is not familiar with Paris.

Or if anyone is sellingt a ticket, please let me know. She would prefer a good seat but will be just happy to go.

Thank you for any advise.

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There are always tickets that become available "day of" one hour before curtain. Lining up by the box office two hours before show time I have never not gotten a seat, even for the performances that initially sold out immediately. Usually, but not always, top priced locations.

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