Opera Garnier

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  • 8 Rue Scribe, 75009
  • Métro 3, 7, 8: Opéra
  • From 12€
  • Accessible to people with disabilities

Napoleon the 3rd is the one who decided to build a new Opera, while the location was chosen by Baron Haussmann. The project was entrusted to a young but talented architect, Charles Garnier who had just returned from a trip to Rome and Athens 

Garnier’s goal was to create a composition that would combine many different architectural styles into a single building. The project started on 1861 but was often interrupted and encounted many obstacles until its completion. T new opera was completed on 3rd  January 1875.

Palais Garnier and the phantom of the Opera

The building

Palais Garnier is undoubtedly one of the most imposing buildings in Paris. It is also called Opéra Garnier and it is historically known as Opéra de Paris (Opera of Paris), as it was the primary lyric scene in Paris. In the same building were located the headquarters of the Paris Opera Ballet, until 1989 when the Opéra Bastille opened its gates in the Bastille area.

In the interior of the building there an impressive entrance with a large marble staircase in which no stairway is exactly the same as the other, but they are made in such a way as to give a sense of constant movement. The staircase leads to a large and luxurious foyer (inspired by the royal palaces) that responded to the social needs of the time, as the “good society” of Paris did not go to the opera exclusively to see the show, but it was more like an opportunity for meetings and social relationships.

The main hall of the theater occupies just the 1/5 of the building, which has in total 17 floors. The curved amphitheater features 1.979 seats, while the crystal chandelier of the ceiling weights 6 tons . Previously, the chandelier was operated with gas lamps, which gradually destroyed the Opera ceiling. In 1964, after choice of the Culture Minister André Malraux, the famous Russian painter Marc Chagall undertakes to paint a new ceiling and give it its present form. Chagall’s work is inspired by classical works of ballet and opera.

The phantom of the opera

Finally, here is the home of the famous opera ghost. It is said that the sound of water passing under the building created the legend of the ghost, which later fueled the imagination of the writer Gaston Leroux, who claimed throughout his life that the ghost was true.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir_Le Moulin de la Galette
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Vincent van Gogh_Starry Night Over the Rhone Arles
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