The Palais Garnier Opera House, built in the 19th-century between 1862-1875 by architect Charles Garnier, is now dedicated to ballet, while opera is now held at the relatively new Opera Bastille. The façade of the building is remarkable and the lavish interior, with a ceiling painted by Chagall, is worth a visit in its own right.
Garnier was only 35 when awarded with the design of the new opera house, now considered to be a masterpiece. A large building, it has a total area of 11,000 square metres (118,404 square feet) and a vast stage with room for up to 450 artists. The auditorium itself comprises roughly half of the total space, most of the rest being used to house necessary logistical support so that the stage demands of any opera can be met and even surpassed. This can include live horses running on a rotating stage. The opera seats only 2,200 which makes it a delightfully cosy venue.
It is an ornate building richly decorated with friezes, columns, and winged figures among other statues and embellishments. Marc Chagall painted the main theatre’s ceiling in 1964 with whimsical pastel figures, and a gold chandelier hangs from the centre.