PARIS HOTEL

Opéra Garnier or Palais Garnier

SIGHTS OPERA GARNIER PARIS
The Opéra Garnier or Palais Garnier, is still often referred to as the "Paris Opera". When it opened on January 5, 1875, the 2,200 seat Paris Opera was the world's largest theatre and opera house. Masterpiece of theatre architecture of the 19th century, the "Palais Garnier", built by Charles Garnier is the thirteen opera house to be found in Paris since the creation of this institution by King Louis XIV in 1669. It's construction was initiated by Napoleon III among important renovation projects conducted under his control by baron Haussmann. An historical monument open to visitors during the day. It mainly performs opera and ballet works. There is a man- made lake (former swamp) beneath the Opéra Garnier, inspiration for the famous Phantom of the Opera.

History :

The Palais Garnier was designed as part of the great Parisian reconstruction of the Second French Empire instigated by Emperor Napoleon III, who chose the civic planner Baron Haussmann to supervise the reconstruction. In 1858 the Emperor authorized Haussmann to clear the required 12,000 square metres of land on which to build a second theatre for the world renowned Parisian Opera and Ballet companies. The project was put out to open competition in 1861, and was won by the architect Charles Garnier (1825–1898). The foundation stone was laid in 1861, followed by the start of construction in 1862. Legend has it that the Emperor's wife, the Empress Eugénie, asked Garnier during the construction as to whether or not the building would be built in the Greek or Roman style, to which he replied: "It is in the Napoleon III style Madame!" Construction was delayed for years due to financial troubles, the Franco-Prussian War, and a fire in 1873.

The Neo-Baroque style did not at first win wide appeal but proved to be well-suited to opera where architectural excess goes hand in hand with extravagant costumes, music, and the large egos of singers and wealthy opera patrons. There is a man-made lake beneath the Opéra Garnier, inspiration for the famous Phantom of the Opera.

Orginally the opera house was officially named the Académie Nationale de Musique - Théâtre de l'Opéra. It retained this title until 1978 when it was re-named the Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris. After the opera company chose the Opéra Bastille as their principal theatre upon its completion in 1989, the theatre was re-named as the Palais Garnier, though its more official name, the Académie Nationale de Musique, is still sprawled above the columns of its front façade. In spite of the change of names and the Opera company's relocation to the Opéra Bastille, the Palais Garnier is still known by many people as the Paris Opéra. The Opéra Garnier is now used mostly for ballet and modern dance, with grand opera taking place at the modern Opéra Bastille, which opened in 1989.

The best way to visit the Opéra Garnier is to attend a performance. If that doesn't fit your schedule, you can visit the building or take a tour. There's also a museum with impressive displays of costumes, drawings, and set models. Not to be missed : the famous ceiling of the Opera Room by Chagall.

Practical information
PALAIS GARNIER - OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS
Place de l'Opéra 75009 PARIS

Getting there
Metro : Opéra
RER : Auber
SNCF : 171
Bus :20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 31, 39, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81

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