The Opera Garnier
Garnier, so called to differentiate it from the recently completed Opera
Bastille, and named after its architect, Charles Garnier, see below.
It was built in 1875 not
just as an opera house, but as a place to see and be seen. In fact the
auditorium and stage take up less than half the 11 000 square meteres of building space. The rest is
given over to staircases, and refreshment rooms all linked by long rooms down
which the fashionable of the day could parade their beauty and riches.
The Grand Foyer is 49 metres long. It seats 2158. There
are still performances held here, and there are also guided tours, so you can
see Chagall's ceiling without having to pay a fortune for a ticket. His ceiling represents nine operas or ballets. A
reproduction of the original ceiling can be seen below.
And the famous lake
underneath? Well it is not entirely fictional. During construction water kept
flooding the foundations, and even though Garnier had the pumps working for a
full year it still flowed in from underground springs. So he