Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris 3.6 rating

  Cultural Attractions

The Palais Garnier is a grand 19th century opera house that is famous around the world as the setting for The Phantom of the Opera. It is one of the 2 halls of the Opéra National de Paris, the other being the Opera Bastille. The Palais Garnier mostly presents ballet performances, and some classical operas.

It was built in 1861-'75 to designs by Charles Garnier, who was inspired by the decadent late-Reniassance Italian palaces which he had encountered during his stay at the Villa Medici. The Second Empire Beaux Arts building was not just the most expensive building of its era, but also renowned as an architectural masterpiece. The frontispiece features an arcade on the lower level, with medallions featuring composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Domenico Cimarosa, Joseph Haydn, and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Below the medallions are sculptures of Idyll, Cantata, Song, and Dance. The colonnade on the upper level has gilded bronze busts of the great composers (Rossini, Auber, Beethoven, Mozart, Spontini, Meyerbeer, and Halévy) between the Corinthian columns. The entablature features the words 'ACADEMIE NATIONALE DE MUSIQUE'. The frieze above features alternating low and high-relief medallions with the gilded letters from the imperial monogram - N for Napoléon and E for Emperor. The avant-corps at the ends are crowned by Charles Gumery's gilded sculptural ensembles of L'Harmonie (Harmony) and La Poésie (Poetry). The bases of the 2 avant-corps features 4 sculptural groups – Poetry aka Harmony by François Jouffroy, Instrumental Music by Eugène Guillaume, The Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, and Lyrical Drama by Jean-Joseph Perraud. The architraves of the upper level feature the words 'Choreographie' and 'Poesie Lyrique'. The gable is surmounted by Aimé Millet's sculptural group of Apollo, Poetry, and Music, while the ends have bronze Pegasus figures.

The west side of the building has the Pavilion de l'Empereur or Rotonde de l'Empereur, which now houses the Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum), part of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The east side has the Pavillon des Abonnés, which leads through the Bassin de la Pythia to the magnificent Grand Escalier, a marble double staircase flanked by allegorical figures of 2 females holding lamps, welcoming visitors. The opulent interiors feature massive chandeliers, marble, baroque stucco, gilt work, mosaics, tapestries, and velvet curtains. The ceiling frescoes are marvelous. Above the staircase are Isidore Pils' The Triumph of Apollo, The Enchantment of Music Deploying its Charms, Minerva Fighting Brutality Watched by the Gods of Olympus, and The City of Paris Receiving the Plan of the New Opéra. The Grand Foyer ceiling has Paul Baudry's frescoes of Music and Comedy. The horse-shoe shaped auditorium's ceiling by Marc Chagall depicts scenes from operas by 14 composers – Mussorgsky, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Adam, Bizet, Verdi, Beethoven, and Gluck.

Bask in the glory of the Second Empire's architectural marvel on a tour of the Palais Garnier. Book your tickets in advance to catch some of the best ballet and classical opera performances in the world here.



About Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris

 8 Rue Scribe, 75009 Paris, France

 Nearest Transit: Opéra (Line No. 7 & 8)

 +33 1 71 25 24 23

Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris and Nearby Attractions on Map

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