When Charles Garnier, young architect of 35 years old shows the plans of the Opera to the Empress Eugenia, she yelled:”What an ugly duckling, this is not style, it’s neither greek nor roman”. To this offense, Charles Garnier answered with repartee:”It is Napoleon III style !”
Ordered by the first french president himself, Napoléon III, after an attack aimed him at Le Peletier Opera’s, the foundations of the Opera Garnier were set down in 1862. It is the talented young architect Charles Garnier that was chosen to design it after winning a contest against 171 others architects. The construction was achieved in 1875, but Napoléon III never saw it as he died two years before.
The Opera Garnier is one of the most important monument of Paris. But it’s reputation is not as wide as the ones of the Louvre, Notre-Dame or the Eiffel Tower for instance, and some may miss the opportunity to admire one the biggest architectural prowess of Paris. It’s frontage is impressive with it’s columns, it’s big terrace and the gold decorations. The inside is modelled on the exterior, splendid and luxurious, the staircase in marble, the ballet room, the reception rooms, everything was made to impress the spectator. Moreover, Chagall brought a piece of modernity with its painting of the ceiling of the auditorium.
Today, the tombstone of the gost of the Opera, is an important place of the parisian culture. Ballets staged by famous dance directors are succeeding each other on the programm of the Opera. So, why don’t you dive in the magic of this fabulous place during your next Paris visit ? We organize private tours with our expert guides for you to understand the history of the opera house and learn some stories about the audience and ballet dancers.