The Paris Opera Garnier

The main opera house in Paris is located at the end of avenue de L'Opera and is often referred to as the "Paris Opera Garnier", after the architect Charles Garnier.

As well as being a deserving tribute to M. Garnier, it also helps differentiate it from Paris' other opera house which is located at Place de la Bastille.

As the home of the National Opera de Paris, the Garnier has achieved world acclaim as one of the premier theatres for Opera, ballet and other forms of classical music.

Most of the legendary opera singers of the last 100 years have performed here. The great tenors Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti have often been seen on it's stage and the great opera diva, Maria Callas was closely associated with the Garnier.

Even if you've been to other great opera houses such as La Scala or the Metropolitan Opera in New York, a trip to the Garnier is a "must do" for any opera lover coming to Paris.

Whether you're thrilled by the arias of Verdi, the operas of Mozart, a lover of Carmen or obsessed by La Boheme, you'll get an operatic experience you'll never forget.

History of the Opera Garnier

Charles Garnier was hired to design the building after winning a competition between 171 architects.

The Paris Opera Garnier Work started in 1862, but was soon halted after the discovery of an underground lake and spring on the site. 

However, this problem was overcome and building recommenced.

However, the lake still remains and lies beneath the cellars of the building.

The Garnier Opera was finally finished in 1875.

(above: statues on the Paris Garnier Opera House)

You can see a large, cutaway model of the Opera House if you visit the Musee D'Orsay in Paris.

The front of the building has 4 busts. These are of composers Rossini, Boieldieu, Rousseau and Beethoven.

The Area around the Paris Opera & Avenue De L'Opera

Just behind the building is a major Paris shopping area which includes famous department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Galeries Lafayette carries over 75,000 brand names and the number of people who visit the store each month is equal to the entire population of Paris. It features the work of designers such as Christian Lacroix.

Printemps is actually three stores. This is a ladies fashion store, a menswear store and a store for items for the home. Among the designer labels you should expect to see featured in Printemps are Dolce e Gabbana.

With these two stores so close by - plus other big name stores that are nearby in the Grands Boulevards, a sightseeing visit to the Opera Garnier should be combined with some shopping!

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