Airbnb lets visitors haunt the halls of the Phantom of the Opera's home
Airbnb likes to drum up publicity by offering the chance to stay in one-of-a-kind places, like the Great Wall of China, Lego House and even a bee-filled tiny house. It has now teamed up with Palais Garnier, the Paris opera house which inspired the original Phantom of the Opera novel, to offer a night of luxury and a rare look behind the scenes.
The Palais Garnier was originally commissioned by French Emperor Napoleon III and has a fascinating history that includes construction being interrupted by war and its seizure by the Paris Commune. However, it's probably best known as inspiration for Gaston Leroux's Le Fantôme de l’Opéra novel, to use its proper French title, which in turn inspired Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical, The Phantom of the Opera.
The building itself is defined by a splendid marble facade and has an opulent interior decorated with golden hues and red velvet furnishings, elaborate paintings and intricate ornaments.
Guests will stay in the Box of Honour, which once hosted important dignitaries. The evening will include a tour of hidden areas such as the opera house's private archives and its famous "underground lake," which was detailed in the novel and is really a large water cistern that was formed when the original builders dug too deep and couldn't remove the groundwater. The site is reportedly used to train Paris firefighters and is home to a large white catfish which staff feed.
The experience will also provide a private ballet initiation with one of the Opera de Paris Ballet's dancers and an exclusive recital by the artists of Paris Opera Academy. There will also be dinner in the Foyer de la Danse and a tour of the private dance studios, from where guests will be able to enjoy choice views of the skyline.
If you'd like to spend a night at the Palais Garnier, Airbnb will accept a single booking on March 1, allowing up to two people to spend the night on July 16. The cost is just €37 (roughly US$40), which is a reference to the Box of Honour's box number.