The Palais Garnier is a must-visit monument when on Paris tours devoted to sightseeing, photography or even the performing arts. The opera house designed by Charles Garnier in Beaux Arts architectural style, was commissioned by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who ruled the French Republic during the mid 19th Century. The former French president’s appreciation for architecture reflects greatly in Palais Garnier in the City of Lights.
When it hosts sell-out plays, you will be in the house with all glitterati who arrive here to enjoy the opera wearing fashionable clothes. The interiors of the opera house have a royal decor that is rife with sculpture, architecture, mosaic paintings, and frescoes. These are all gothic-looking features implemented by its visionary architect, Charles Garnier.
The main attraction of Palais Garnier is its rotundas that are devoted to the moon and sun. While one of its rotundas has a dome decorated with mirrored walls and golden sunburst, the other one is adorned with decorations that resemble moon rays and a starry night. Most of the decors implemented in the opera house are a first of its kind for a building in France; previously, buildings in Rome had such kind of majestic architecture that brought an admiration in the audience. That is exactly what you feel when on an Opera Garnier tour, whether that is self-guided with audio guides or one with a private Paris tours guide.
Its décor also has busts of eminent figures from the glittering world of opera, figures from mythology, allegorical statues, and surprising motifs such as that of salamander. The Grand Staircase provides an ideal viewing platform to enjoy the features of Opéra de Paris in all its glory.
A visit to the Opéra Garnier is complete only if you take part in a trail devoted to Phantom of the Opera, the novel by Gaston Leroux. If you take a guided tour of Palais Garnier, you will come to know about its historic tales, including the fact that the French writer got inspired to write his famed novel after a mishap at the opera house.
Even if you are here for architecture and painting, you will fall in love with it right from its gigantic fresco painting by Marc Chagall and the caryatids statues. To top it off is the auditorium, where ballets are held from time to time for the entertainment of the public.