The Palais Garnier, better known as the Paris Opera House was designed by Charles Garnier in the Neo-Baroque style. After many expeditions around the world, Napoleon III commissioned it in an attempt to form Paris into a new Rome, the Second Empire.
The theatre opened to a carnival of ballet and theater performances on January 15, 1875. The Gothic novel, The Phantom of the Opera, was inspired by a horrific event in which part of the central chandelier fell and killed one man. The beautiful imagery with the many hidden passages and underground lake provide the most intriguing backdrop for the drama.
Reflecting upon many of the other Napoleon monuments purveying Paris, such as the Arch de Triumph at the end of the Champs de Lyse, the Opera house welcomes the romantic soul. Just like its complimentary monuments it is set in true opulence. The Opera House seats 2,200 under a cascading chandelier, entirely surrounded by marble friezes, statuary, and columns along with bronze sculpture and additional chandeliers. The environment enchants its guests into the world that is portrayed on stage. Such intricate craftsmanship allows for wonderful decades of enjoyment, and deserves full acknowledgment. Hopefully, this monument can inspire our lives and remind us of the true art of architecture, especially when combined with historical prestige.