Find On MapFind On Map - Photo Gallery (20)

Palais Garnier, Paris, France

One of the most impressive Opera buildings in the world – the Garnier Opera House (well-known as Palais Garnier), is located in one of the most beautiful cities of the world - Paris. This opulent, richly decorated opera house is not only the most famous opera house in the world, but also is one of the main architectural symbols of Paris. Palais Garnier is the thirteenth theatre building, constructed for the Paris Opera. The building is named after its architect Charles Garnier, who won the competition for the opera project when he was an unknown 35 years old architect. The building was built from 1860 to 1875, as part of the great Parisian reconstruction project, initiated by Napoleon III (Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte - the first President of France to be elected by a direct popular vote, ruled 1848-1852 as President, 1852-1870 as Emperor).

The building was hosting Paris opera until a new, bigger opera house - Opera Bastille, was opened in 1989. Now Palais Garnier is used mainly for ballet performances. Currently it also houses Paris Opera Library-Museum.

The central southern façade of the building is a vivid example of eclectic architecture. More than 80 famous artists were engaged in the creation of sculptures and paintings on the southern façade, including the massive statue of Apollo on the roof of the building. Central foyer of the building with its golden ornaments and rich decorations is reminding the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.

One of the main characteristics of the building is its precise symmetry. The building is created in Beaux-Arts architectural style. Its interior is in Baroque style. The building is richly decorated with gold and velvet. There are numerous statues and pictures in every hall of the opera, depicting different scenes from Greek mythology and musical allegories.

Among the most impressive parts of the building, the main staircase is attracting special attention thanks to its hugeness and beautifully painted ceiling. The double stairway is made from marble. The opera has 1979 seats.The stage of the building is extremely capacious and can accommodate more than 450 artists. The building is 155 meters long, 101 meters wide and 56 meter high. Numerous waste foyers allow visitors communicate and walk during the breaks.

Central hall of the opera has a chandelier, weighting around 7 tones. The ceiling around the chandelier contains a new painting by Marc Chagall (from 1964). The painting represents different scenes from 14 famous composers – Adam, Berlioz, Bizet, Beethoven, Debussy, Gluck, Mussorgsky, Mozart, Wagner, Rameau, Ravel, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Verdi.

Palais Garnier is not only one of the richest buildings in Paris, but also the most impressive building constructed during the Second French Empire. This building is famous not only because of its incredible architecture, but also thanks to the fact that Gaston Leroux in his novel “Phantom of the Opera” used Palais Garnier as the main arena of the novel’s developments. Leroux got inspired for the creation of this novel because of the death of one of the visitors. He died in 1896, because one of the counterweights of the heavy chandeliers felt on him.

By Anna Pambukhchyan,


Browse Buildings (519) : # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z