Opéra de Paris Garnier
Palais Garnier

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The opulent Opéra de Paris Garnier was designed by Charles Garnier for Emperor Napoleon III. It is the most important symbol of the nineteenth century Second Empire Baroque style.


Opera Garnier, Paris
Palais Garnier

Construction of the opera building started in 1862, but it wasn’t completed until 1875, partly because an underground lake was discovered during construction. The small lake still exists under the opera building. It was the hiding place of the «Phantom of the Opera» in Paul Leroux’s famous play.

The Opera Garnier seen from the Avenue de l'Opéra
View from the Avenue de l’Opéra
Statue of Apollo on top of the Opera Garnier in Paris
Apollo flanked by Poetry and Music

Palais Garnier

Since the construction of the modern Opéra de Paris Bastille in 1989 on the Place de la Bastille, the majestic Opéra Garnier is now mainly used for ballet performances. At the same time, it was also officially renamed “Palais Opéra”.

The Building

Even though the building has a seating capacity of less than 2,200, the building is one of the largest theaters in the world by acreage. It is 172 meters long, 125 meters wide and reaches a height of 73.6 meters (564 x 410 x 241 ft.). The facade is decorated with rose marble columns, friezes, sculpture groups and two large gilded statues.


Grand Foyer, Opera Garnier
Grand Foyer

The interior of the Opéra Garnier building is even more impressive than its exterior. The marble Grand Staircase has a height of 30 meters or 98 feet! They were the inspiration for the marble staircase in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The 54-meter-long Grand Foyer features a mosaic covered ceiling and numerous chandeliers. It is so luxurious that it can be compared with the corridors in the Palace of Versailles.

Behind the Grand Foyer and below the green copper dome is the lavishly decorated auditorium with red velvet, plaster cherubs and gold leaf. The auditorium’s magnificent chandelier weighs a massive six tonnes. Its oval-shaped ceiling was painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall. The stage behind the auditorium is 60 meters high (197 ft.) and has room for up to 450 actors.


The Opera de Paris Garnier is located at the Place de l’Opera, a square in the 9th arrondissement, just north of the 2nd arrondissement.

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