Opera Garnier

 The Opera Garnier, built between 1862 and 1875, is a building that always makes me stop and look no matter which direction I happen to see it from. It is so baroque and over the top that it shouldn’t be so appealing but I really do like it. It is now devoted to ballet and a visit to the auditorium, up the splendid steps, gives you a look at the Chagalle ceiling(painted in 1964), worth a trip in itself. The chandelier there weighs six tons and it is easy to imagine the Phantom of the Opera nearby.


It’s hard to get a good photo with all of the people and traffic in front, plus they are doing some sort of work in front too.


 A look at one corner in the front.


 A view from the side. I love that crown.

 Garnier was only 35 when he was selected, in a competition, to build the opera house. The opera was being built at the same time that Haussman was widening streets into the famous boulevards. He loved having a wide boulevard leading up to a monument or building, and the boulevard leading up to the Garnier Opera House is the only one in Paris without trees so that the view isn’t obstructed. Garnier had a horrible time getting it built. No only did they discover a spring and lake underneath-it is still there-but Napoleon III kept cutting his funds. Imagine what it would have been like if he’d have had all of the money he needed! There are also some bee hives somewhere up there on the roof and you can buy honey from those hives at the nearby Fauchon store, a mecca for gourmet shoppers.

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7 thoughts to “Opera Garnier”

  1. …a little off subject, but I visited the new Grand Théatre de Provence in Aix on friday. A modern opera house built to look like Saint Victoire. I could only detect two colors inside, red and grey, nothing like the extravagance of Garnier, but nice in it’s own way.

  2. I read that there had been a coup against Napoleon III so for safety reasons the Avenue de l’Opera was made esp. large with no trees to allow forces of police to quickly march up to the Opera… Napoleon III had a special entrance designed for him to access Opera in his carriage. The way history went, he never had the opportunity to use it.

  3. I have a soft spot in my heart for this magnificent building. As a 20 year old, in Europe for the first time, it was my first sight in Paris. I had boarded the metro right in the train station upon arriving in Paris and by chance, got off at the Opera station. As I climbed the stairs into the sunlight, this fabulous building unfolded before my eyes. Now, I look at it every morning – in a painting in my bedroom….But it\’s better in person!

  4. That is a beautiful building – another “must see” in Paris that we missed on our 2001 visit, but it’s added to my list for next time!

    Bee hive on the roof? That’s an interesting concept. I wonder who gets the proceeds from the honey?

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