+33 6 44 60 08 08

Monument : The Garnier Opera

The Garnier Opera

Built in 1875 by Charles Garnier, the Paris opera is a baroque example of neoclassicism: The Opera has an ornamented facade, monumental stairs and Italian type hall with Chagall paintings on the ceiling. Rudolf Noureev and Maria Callas are among the many artists who wrote its history as one of the world foremost scenic stages for opera and ballet alike. Since the opening of the Opéra Bastille in 1989, the Opera Garnier is devoted to ballets and dance.

The massive works were slowed down by the discovery of a water table that had to be drained before building an enormous concrete well designed to carry the gigantic stage and fly tower. The well was filled with water in order to counter the water Pressure (hence the legend of the underground lake popularized by Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera). The 1870 Franco-Prussian war and the Commune interrupted the construction works, but the fire at the old opera in Rue Le Peletier in 1873 hastened the completion of the monument. It was officially inaugurated during the 3rd Republic by president Mac-Mahon on 1875.

From 1881 down to the present day several restoration and modernization programmes have made the theatre increasingly functional without lessening its appeal as a monument: technical progress and the evolution of sets under the influence of "verism". The next step was the building of a modern and popular opera house: Opera Bastille.

back to the monuments