The Palais Garnier is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1860 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was originally called the Salle des Capucines because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier.
The Palais Garnier is “probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré-Cœur Basilica”. This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera and the novel’s subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s popular 1986 musical. Another contributing factor is the perception that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, it is the only one that is “unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank.”
The Palais Garnier was designed as part of the great reconstruction of Paris during the Second Empire initiated by Emperor Napoleon III, who chose Baron Haussmann to supervise the reconstruction. In 1858 the Emperor authorized Haussmann to clear the required 129,167 ft² of land on which to build a second theatre for the world-renowned Parisian Opera and Ballet companies.
Official Website: operadeparis.fr
Photo Credit: Mikael