Opened: 1875

Seating capacity: 2,156

Principal patron: Napoleon III

Properly known as the Opera National de Paris - Palais Garnier sits atop a man-made lake, an area where the legendary Phantom of the Opera is supposed to reside. During the construction of the house, the crews were unable to drain the lowest basement. They finally succumbed to nature, and left it filled with water which was used by the fire department, as well as for hydraulic machinery which was part of the stage equipment.

Magnificent marble statues line the foyer which opens onto the dramatic double-staircase. The lavish hallways and foyers served as entertainment areas for Napoleaon's court. The theater, itself, actually accomodating fewer in the audience than the entertainment areas. The stage, though, is one of the largest in the world, permitting up to 450 on stage at once.

The Garnier underwent re-modling some ten years ago, and re-opened primarily as a venue for ballet. The Bastille and the smaller Opera-Comique handle most of the operas.


The Garnier has constantly met with the
criticism that it is overly ornate.
The famous French artist, Marc Chagall, demonstrated his interest in the Garnier with several painting of it. In 1964 he produced the magnificent frescoes which now grace the ceiling of the house.