Opera Garnier – The National Opera Theatre of Paris
The Opera Garnier, referred to as Palais Garnier as well, known mostly as Place de l’Opera is a wonderful landmark that houses the National Opera of Paris in France. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings and one of the most majestic architectural masterpieces in the world. It was built and inaugurated in 1875 and since then it is also called National Academy of Music – Opera Theatre. This title stayed until 1979 when it became National Theatre of Opera of Paris, although you can find it in a travel guide with both titles and names.
The Opera Garnier was built during the large project of the city reconstruction powered and introduced by Napoleon the 3rd. Baron Haussman was the one who was in charge with finding the place for the construction and the one who cleared a land of more than 11,000 sq. meters in the heart of Paris to build the famous French Opera building. The architect of the Opera was Charles Garnier who started designing the building in 1861. The construction started a year later. According to the legends, the architect was asked by the Empress if he would build the Opera according to the Greek or Roman style and he replied that he is building it according to the Napoleon Style.
The construction though was stalled as several accidents and setbacks took place: a war, a lake running underneath the ground and numerous accidents almost cancelled the project; however the project finally finished in 1875. Opera Garnier boasts almost 12,000 sq meters as planned and can seat more than 2,000 people. One of the most characteristic ornaments of the building is the gigantic chandelier that hangs from the ceiling; it weighs more than 6 tons.
The Opera Garnier is a typical axially designed building with glorious decoration.