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.
PALAIS GARNIER - OPERA NATIONAL DE PARIS
Place de l'Opéra 75009 PARIS
Metro : Opéra
RER : Auber
SNCF : 171
Bus :20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 31, 39, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81
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|NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL PARIS
Jump start your vacation tour with
a visit to the spectacular 12 Century Cathedral on
the Ile de la Cite in the Heart of Paris.
is the world's largest palace and
museum and a triumph of French architecture.
|SAINT CHAPELLE PARIS
Built in 1246 by Crusader King
Louis IX (Saint Louis) on the Ile de la Cite, in the
middle of Paris' Seine river, to house the relics of
the Crusades, including the Crown of Thorns.
|EIFFEL TOWER PARIS
Built for the 1889 Paris Exhibition;
the Eiffel Tower is the largest and most
recognizable landmarks in the world. Take the
elevator or climb to the 2nd level to take the
scary ride straight up its narrow neck in a glass
|OPERA GARNIER PARIS
Its underground waterway the
fabled setting for the Leroux's "Phantom of the
Opera" its a classy place to see French Ballet and
Opera. Its facade is adorned with marble and
|ARC DE TRIOMPHE PARIS
Suggestive of an ancient
Roman arch its the biggest triumphal arch in the
world commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.
|MOULIN ROUGE CABARET PARIS
Evocative of wild
Paris between WW I and II, the place and
Parisian shows were immortalized by painter
|SACRE COEUR PARIS
(Sacred Heart): glows
like a white cake atop the nearby hill of
Montmartre overlooking Paris.
|HOTEL DE VILLE PARIS
One of the most
stunningly beautiful buildings you will see in
Paris. Parisians and even some Tourists seem to
pay little attention to it since it stunning interior is
|NAPOLEAN'S TOMB PARIS
Prepare to be amazed, a
gargantuan sarcophagus on a granite base sunk in
a huge circular basin under a magnificent dome
in the center of a Parisian Cathedral.
|MUSEE ORSAY PARIS
in a splendid former Paris
railway station built in 1900, is the Musée
d'Orsay offering a wealth of artistic treasures
produced between 1848 and 1914.
Chenonceau, Cheverny, Amboise and more.
01 Paris: Louvre Museum - Notre dame Cathedral - Banks of the River Seine - Chatelet Tower - Place Vendome - Le Palais Royal - Le Louvre - L'orangerie - Pont Neuf - Pont de La Concorde - Le quartier Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois - Pont-Neuf aux Tuileries
02 Paris: Paris Stock Exchange - Textile district - L'Opera Garnier - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - Bourse - La Tour Jean-sans-Peur
03 Paris: Picasso museum - Centre Georges Pompidou - Republique - Conservatoire des Arts et Metier
04 Paris: Old Marais district - Modern Art museum - City Hall - Ile de La Cite; - La place des Vosges - L'Hotel de Ville - Notre Dame de Paris - La Conciergerie - La crypte archeologique - La Maison de Victor Hugo - La Sainte Chapelle - Pont de Sully
05 Paris: Pantheon - Botanical Gardens - Saint-Germain-des-Pres - Notre dame de Paris - Eglise de Saint Germain - Saint Michel - La mosquee de Paris - L'ile de la Cite; - L'Ile Saint-Louis - Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve - La crypte archeologique - La Sainte Chapelle - La Conciergerie - Les Arenes Lutece - Jardin des Plantes - Pont Neuf - Pont d'Austerlitz - Pont de Sully
06 Paris: Saint Germain des Pres - Latin Quarter - Luxembourg Gardens - La Tour Montparnasse - Musee d'Orsay - Palais / Jardin du Luxembourg - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Observatoir de Paris
07 Paris: Eiffel Tower - Marais - Orsay Museum - Invalides (Napoleon's resting place) - Champs de Mars - L'UNESCO - Ecole Militaire - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides - Pont de L'Alma
08 Paris: Champs Elysees - Arc of Triumph - Elysees Palace - La Concorde et les Tuileries - Place Vendome - L'Opera Garnier - Le quartier de la defense - L'eglise Russe - L'orangerie - Place de La Madeleine - Boulevard Haussmann - Pont de La Concorde - Pont des Invalides
09 Paris: Opera House - Saint Lazare Train Station La butte Montmartre - Moulin Rouge - Galeries Lafayette - Musee de la Vie Romantique - Le quartier de la Nouvelle Athenes - Gare Saint Lazare
10 Paris: Est Train Station - Nord Train Station - Saint Martin canal - Place de la Republique
11 Paris: Republique Plaza - Leather district - La place des Vosges - Bastille - Cimetiere Pere Lachaise - Boulevard Belleville
12 Paris: New Opera House - Nation Plaza - Vincennes Park - Gare de Lyon - Le Viaduc des Arts - Le Parc de Bercy - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Pont d'Austerlitz
13 Paris: French National Library - Chinatown - Croulebarbe aux Gobelins - Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand - Orly - Le quartier de la Butte-aux-Cailles - Pont National - Pont de Tolbiac - Pont de Bercy - Pont Charles de Gaulle - Parc de Montsouris - Observatoire de Paris
14 Paris: Montparnasse Train Station - Observatory - Cimetiere du Montparnasse - Parc de Montsouris
15 Paris: Vaugirard Street - Beaugrenelle Antiques Area - La Tour Montparnasse - Paris Expo / Porte de Versailles - Ecole Militaire - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetierre de Grenelle - Cimetiere du Montparnasse
16 Paris: Trocadero Plaza - Boulogne Park - Parc des Princes - Stade Roland Garros - Champs de Mars - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot - Promenade Hector Guimard et l'Art Nouveau - Le quartier de la defense - Auteuil - Musee d'art Moderne - Palais Chaillot - Bois de Boulogne - Pont de L'Alma - Pont de Grenelle - Pont Mirabeau - Pont du Gariglialo - Parc Andre Citroen - Cimetiere de Grenelle
17 Paris: Wagram - Ternes - Jacquemin Museum - Le quartier de la Defense - Sacre-Coeur - Palais des Congres / Porte Maillot
18 Paris: Montmartre Hill (home of Amelie Poulain) - Church of the Sacred Heart - Moulin Rouge - Stade de France - La Basilique Saint-Denis - Gare du Nord - Roissy Charle de Gaulle
19 Paris: Villette Techno Park - Buttes Chaumont Park - Geode - Zenith - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville
20 Paris: Pere Lachaise Cemetery (Jim Morrison's resting place) - Place de La Nation - Roissy Charle de Gaulle - Boulevard Belleville
92 Paris: Parc des Expositions - Parc de Sceaux - Issy-les-Moulineaux - Roland Garros - La Defense
93 Paris: Eurodisney Park