Magic and Movement: Tango at Paris’s Palais Garnier

Tango at the Paris Opera House

Everyone knows Paris is magical right? Beautiful in the rain, full of high fashion and fine food, and so sophisticated it might give you a serious crisis of confidence? All of these things may be true, but it’s just a city. However, as can be said of any big, old city, when you pack hundreds of thousands of people into a place laden with history and rich culture, it’s only a matter of time before some actual little bits of magic happen.

We had one of those “I think my soul is leaving my body” moments on our last trip. We’d read about tango on the banks of the Seine, and one of us was a little more excited about the prospect of watching than the other of us was (*looking at you, Luke*). Sadly, despite running all over the city for a week straight, we never made it to that part of Paris.

Boyfriend Perspective: Miles. We walked miles. 141,000 steps. How DIDN’T we make it there??? I’ll tell you how, too much other stuff to do on the list of ambitiousness. In the end I think we finished about 2/3’s of what we wanted to do and we NEVER STOPPED WALKING.

On our last night in this storied city, we had just finished dinner overlooking the Eiffel Tower and watched its sparkling lights illuminate the sky at full dark. It may be touristy, but boy, is it gorgeous. We wanted to finish off our evening with drinks at one of the most famous bars in the city, so we hopped the metro to the 9th arrondissement and “Sank Roo Doe Noo”.

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Cue the Argentine magic!

Feeling full and happy, we hopped off at our stop and started walking the few blocks to the bar. As we were recounting the events of the evening, strains of music suddenly made their way to us.

Boyfriend Perspective: Meagan is on the constant prowl for stuff like this. We heard that music, and I swear, her ears literally perked up and I think I disappeared, along with traffic, because she damn near got herself run over trying to walk over to the plaza dance floor.

We turned the corner of the Palais Garnier, and there, at 10:30 at night, a small crowd had gathered to watch a group of probably 30 people dancing the Argentine Tango under the opera house lights. Couples ranged in age from 17 to 70, and all moved with a practiced grace that even had Luke fascinated.

Eventually, after taking tons of pictures and trying to absorb the fact that this was actually happening, we went on our way to finish our perfect night in Paris.

But Paris’s popup tango scene is just more proof that this city really is magic.


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tango at paris palais garnier

Also published on Medium.

28 Replies to “Magic and Movement: Tango at Paris’s Palais Garnier”

  1. Alexander Popkov says: Reply

    People in Paris do know how to have fun. Living in Finland and missing the busy streets.

    1. I’ve heard such lovely things about Finland, though! I’ll have to get some recommendations from you when we finally head out that way 😉

  2. statebystateadventure says: Reply

    Sounds magical. I really liked the boyfriend perspectives.

    1. I like his perspective, too 😉 Guess I’ll keep him!

  3. The magic that Paris possesses is beyond anything i have ever experienced in life. I am so glad you experienced this so I can put this on my lists to look for when I return to my beloved city.

    1. I’m with you 100%. It’s stunning! If you do encounter tango there, I can’t wait to hear your stories! 😀

  4. This is the kind of serendipity that makes travel so thrilling! Of course, we have wonderful experiences beyond those which happen by chance, but when your dreams intersect with chance, it’s just a magical feeling! Love that this happened for you!

    1. I love this reply, and agree with you 100% 🙂 Thank you for your kind words!

  5. I love tango and Paris! I hope to go one day!

    1. Even if you don’t stumble on this particular piece of magic, you’ll definitely find magic of some kind in this gorgeous city!

  6. This looks so cool. I used to live and work in Paris and never done anything like this. Would love to dance on the streets underneath a full moon.

    1. Jealous that you spent so much time there! I’m trying to figure out when we can get back – it’s a uniquely captivating place 🙂

  7. Sounds like a really great time, enjoyed this post 🙂

    1. Glad to hear it!! 🙂

  8. Paris is this world’s magical city of love and fun. And this post confirms that. Your photos makes me think, when can I be part of this fun?

    1. Well, hopefully soon! 🙂

  9. “I think my soul is leaving my body” moments are surely travel moments we live for. Paris, the city of Love is surely mesmerizing! I am sure you and Luke enjoyed your trip!

    1. Agreed! Planning is amazing, but those little spontaneous extras add all the color to trips 🙂 And we definitely did!

  10. I have to ask, did you really walk 141,000 steps?? That is so insane! I love that you followed the music to such a unique spot in Paris. It sounds like a dream!

    1. Hah, yes, yes we did. The first few days sucked really hard – lots of achy feet and lower body – but by the last couple of days, I think we’d both gotten acclimated fairly well 🙂 And I think this will always be one of my favorite travel stories!

  11. Paris is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world for us and we would love to go there again and again. A tango on the banks of the Seine sounds really interesting. We were not aware of this and have only experienced a walk by the Seine and a cruise, hope to catch this next time.

    1. I’ve seen several people mention tango by the Seine at sunset, but I figured we’d missed it on that visit. Never in a million years would’ve imagined tango at the opera house at 10:30 at night! But c’est la vie – and what a vie it is 🙂

  12. Paris is our dream destination and everytime we read a post on it; our urge to visit this hub increases. I love how you add boyfriends perspective to your post. Girl how did you manage to walk those many steps. Tango at river Seine sounds so romantic. Would love to include this on iur trip to Paris.

    1. It was my dream destination, too, so I totally get it 🙂 And regarding the walking, I kept telling Luke that I was living my dream and I’d sleep when I’m dead hahahah So, it was pure determination to see everything I could since I wasn’t sure when I’d get back!

  13. A pop-up tango scene? How fascinating! The more and more I keep on seeing stories about Paris’ magic, the more I am entranced to visit it! I had a not-so-pleasant time in Paris in my childhood and its followed me into my latter years but I think moments like these prove I need to reassess my aversion. Glad that you found your tango and all by serendipity!

    1. I’m sorry you had a negative first experience with Paris – can totally understand that following you into adulthood. I guess any trip has the potential to go sideways and mess with your perception of a place. If you ever do decide to visit again, I hope it’s a million times better 🙂 Also, I think NYC has a pop-up tango scene, too – a coworker of mine recently mentioned it when I was talking about Paris… so there’s still hope! 😉

  14. What a magical moment! That’s what makes all of our travels worth it — when after planning everything to the minute, we happen upon something unplanned or unexpected that is just wonderful!

    1. Yes!!! You can plan for fun, but spontaneous wonder is a whole different beast!

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