Affordable Opera Options in Paris

The Paris Opera, designed by Charles Garnier as a "monument to art, to luxury, to pleasure." Photo by Ken Paterson
By Jacquelin Carnegie

In Paris, fancy opera houses such as Opéra Garnier or the Opéra Bastille are not the only places to hear great arias. Music lovers can also find professional opera singers performing in casual bars and theme restaurants. Check out these four favorites on your next visit.

Photo Caption: The Paris Opera, designed by Charles Garnier as a "monument to art, to luxury, to pleasure."
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On Mondays at La Mezzanine de L'Alcazar in Paris, you can hear opera as you dine. Photo courtesy La Mezzanine de L'Alcazar Photo by Courtesy La Mezzanine de L'Alcazar
On Monday nights, the mezzanine of this popular restaurant, in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés, becomes a hot spot for singers with operatic voices. Hear great music over a few drinks in this lively ambience.

Where: 62 rue Mazarine, 6th arrondissement, Metro: Odéon; www.alcazar.fr

When: Monday nights, 8pm-12am

Cost: No cover charge

Photo Caption: On Mondays at La Mezzanine de L'Alcazar in Paris, you can hear opera as you dine. Courtesy La Mezzanine de L'Alcazar
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Classical musicians will serenade you at Aux Troubadours in Paris. Photo courtesy Aux Troubadours. Photo by Courtesy Aux Troubadours
Dine in a medieval setting on period cuisine while being serenaded by classical musicians and singers performing madrigals and operatic arias. You're greeted by multi-lingual Chef Patrick, who is happy to explain exactly what's in the cuisine médiévale dishes.

Where: 70 Blvd de Ménilmontant; 20th arrondissement, Metro: Père Lachaise; www.auxtroubadours.com

When: Saturday nights

Cost: €75 prix fixe menu and wine

Photo Caption: Classical musicians will serenade you at Aux Troubadours in Paris. Courtesy Aux Troubadours
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At Bel Canto in Paris, your meal will be served to you by professional singers. Photo courtesy Bel Canto Photo by Courtesy Bel Canto
Enjoy an Italian meal served by professional singers. Throughout the evening, the waiters -- sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenors, and baritones -- sing every 15 minutes until midnight. You'll hear some of your favorite arias from operas by Verdi, Mozart, Bizet, Rossini, and Puccini.

Where: 72 Quai de l'Hotel de Ville, 4th arrondissement, Metro: l'Hotel de Ville or Pont Marie; www.lebelcanto.com

When: Every night

Cost: €85 prix fixe menu, drinks extra

Photo Caption: At Bel Canto in Paris, your meal will be served to you by professional singers. Courtesy Bel Canto
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The Swan Bar in Paris, France. Photo by Lionel Bloom / Swan Bar Photo by Lionel Bloom
On most nights, the Swan Bar (run by American impresario Lionel Bloom) is a place to hear great jazz. But, on Tuesdays, it's transformed into Le Salon de Musique, an open-mike night for professional and amateur opera singers. Valérie, a mezzo-soprano, is the hostess; Thomas MacFarlane is on piano. Expect lots of fun in a casual atmosphere.

Where: 165 Blvd du Montparnasse, 6th arrondissement, Metro: Raspail or Vavin; www.swanbar.fr

When: Tuesday nights, 7:30pm-9pm

Cost: €10, plus drinks

Photo Caption: The Swan Bar in Paris, France. Photo by Lionel Bloom/Swan Bar
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