Résumé

The Palais Garnier, located in the upscale 19th-century district of Paris's new bourgeois and capitalist elite, is a neo-baroque architectural masterpiece that bears witness to the splendor of the late 19th century. Commissioned by Napoleon III after an attempt on his life in 1858, this monumental opera house was designed by architect Charles Garnier, chosen from 171 competitors. Construction began in 1861 and was completed in 1875, after Napoleon III's abdication. The opera house's eclectic style blends Baroque and neo-Renaissance, reflecting the aspirations of society at the time for luxury and performance.

Construction was marked by budgetary and technical problems, including unstable foundations and the need to install steam pumps to pump water from the ground. Despite these challenges, the opera house was inaugurated in two stages, first in 1867 with only the main façade completed, and then in 1875 after the building had been completely finished.

The Palais Garnier boasts a sumptuous interior, including a grand staircase, grand foyer and auditorium seating up to 2,000. The opera house also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, richly decorated salons and sophisticated technical areas for stage and backstage.

Over the years, the Palais Garnier has undergone modernization and restoration to preserve its historic heritage and ensure its functionality as a venue for ballet and opera performances. Today, it remains one of Paris's most emblematic monuments, attracting visitors from all over the world with its architectural beauty and fascinating history.

Localisation
Open hours
  • Visite non accompagnée: tel 08 92 89 90 90 (0.35 euros per minute)
  • Guided tours: Manatour - Service Réservation: tel 08 25 63 00 03 (0.15 euros per minute) or reservation@manatour.fr
    or https://www.manatour.fr/opera

ON-SITE SERVICES

Please note that the checkroom is not open to visitors.
As part of the Vigipirate plan, suitcases and travel bags are no longer allowed inside the Palais Garnier.

BOOKSHOP

Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm, until the end of performances.
In summer, from July 17 to August 30, open Monday to Sunday, 10:30 am to 6 pm.
Accessible directly from rue Halévy or from the theater's public areas.
Information: tel 01 53 43 03 97

Access

Opéra Garnier
Place de l'Opéra
75009 Paris

Entrance at the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber

How to get to the Palais Garnier

  • Metro: Opéra station, lines 3, 7, 8
  • RER: Auber station, line A
  • Bus: lines 20, 21, 27, 29, 32, 45, 52, 66, 68, 95
  • Parking: Q-Park Edouard VII - Rue Bruno Coquatrix 75009 Paris (opposite 23 Rue de Caumartin)

ACCESSIBILITY

Visits to the Palais Garnier are accessible to people with reduced mobility, wheelchair users and the visually impaired (excluding areas dedicated to temporary exhibitions).

Information and reservations:
01 40 01 18 50 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm)
accessibilité@operadeparis.fr

Address

Opéra Garnier
Place de l'Opéra
75009 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 52′ 19″ N 2° 19′ 56″  E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.87071 2.33218
Reservation

PALAIS GARNIER

Guided toursfor a reservation of french speaking guide

Self-guided tour

The Opéra national de Paris invites you to take a self-guided tour of the Palais Garnier, a masterpiece of 19th-century theatrical architecture.
The admission ticket also gives you access to temporary exhibitions when they are on show.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 08 92 89 90 90 (0.35 euros per minute) for information.
Tickets may be purchased on site, at ticket offices and automatic ticket machines.
Full price: €15
Reduced rate : 10 €
Free (children under 12, jobseekers...)

COCO RESTAURANT (Restaurant of Opéra)

Open daily from 7.30am to 2am (last order at 11pm)
1, place Jacques-Rouché
75009 Paris (on the right of the façade)
Reservations: 01 42 68 86 80
coco-paris.com

Description complète

The Garnier Opera in Paris is located in the fashionable 19th-century district of the new bourgeois and capitalist elite. What was once a country promenade became, at Napoleon III's request, a grand boulevard for business.

But the story actually goes back to the end of the 18th century, when King Louis XV moved from the Château de Versailles to the Louvre. The court then settled on the outskirts, opening up Paris to the north, beyond the old ramparts, destroyed and replaced in 1705 by a planted promenade.

Garnier Opera in Paris or "Palais Garnier", now "Palais de la danse"

This neo-baroque Garnier Opera is one of the largest in Europe. The elegance of its interior is astonishing. See the auditorium, main staircase (Grand escalier), Grand Foyer and Rotonde des Abonnés. The building inspired the setting of the legendary musical opera "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra".

Garnier Opera: its construction

On January 14, 1858, Napoleon III (1808 - 1873) escaped assassination as he left the old Peletier opera house. The next day, he decided to build a new opera house in an unobstructed location that would ensure effective police surveillance.

Although little-known, the young 35-year-old architect Charles Garnier was chosen (from among 171 colleagues) after a competition. For the construction, he surrounded himself with friends he had met during his studies, in particular other Grand Prix de Rome winners. Construction began in 1861, the foundation stone was laid in 1862, and the real work began in 1863, with the façade alone being inaugurated in 1867 (for the 1867 Universal Exhibition). The rest of the construction work was delayed by the war of 1870. The Garnier Opera was finally inaugurated in 1875, after Napoleon III's abdication in 1870.

The style of the Garnier Opera

The Garnier Opera oscillates between Baroque and neo-Renaissance, and is the prototype and synthesis of the "Second Empire Style". The façade and interior feature numerous sculptures and sumptuous decorations that reflected the aspirations of late 19th-century society: luxury, pageantry and representation. To Empress Eugénie (Napoleon III's wife), who was astonished that this style was "neither Greek nor Louis XV, not even Louis XVI", Charles Garnier replied "it's Napoleon III". A nice courtier word. The sheer quantity of marble, stucco and frescoes is certainly the mark of a society proud of its material prosperity, but "fantasy, extravagance, the rejection of all historical references, the gaiety that springs from this polychrome symphony are hardly common qualities of the time" (Bernard Oudin, Dictionnaire des architectes, éditions Seghers).

The problem with foundations

During excavations for the foundation blocks, work had to stop abruptly because the water table had been reached. Steam pumps operating day and night were installed to pour a large concrete casing, temporarily filled with water to allow construction of the infrastructure above. It also allowed loads to be distributed over the poor-quality ground and stabilized the building. Today, it is still used by firefighters as a water reservoir.

Note: the Opera ghost
This "imponderable" abundance of water in the ground gave rise to the legend of an underground lake fed by a stream named "Grange-Batelière". Author Gaston Leroux cleverly exploited this technical incident in his novel "Le fantôme de l'Opéra" (1909 - 1910). For more details on this novel, click on Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (Wikipedia). The real story is that the river in question doesn't run under the Garnier Opera, but a little further on.

Budgetary problems during construction

The construction site was constantly plagued by budgetary problems. The estimate was twenty-nine million (gold francs), reduced to 15 million in 1864. Work slowed down several times, and was interrupted during the 1870 war. After the fall of Napoleon III, the 3rd Republic finally allocated a further 7 million to complete the Opera within a year and a half. Delivery took place on December 30, 1874, with the Rotonde du Glacier and the Galerie du Fumoir unfinished (the latter was never completed). The total cost of the Opera was 36 million gold francs.
The architecture and interior and exterior decorations of the Opéra Garnier were classified by the Commission Supérieure des Monuments Historiques on October 19, 1923, forty-eight years after its inauguration.

Garnier Opera: the opening of the "Avenue de l'Opéra" and the Garnier Opera district

In 1867, with the façades barely inaugurated, Napoleon III asked Haussmann to build an avenue linking the Palais des Tuileries to the Garnier Opera. For the record, the Palais des Tuileries still existed. It was Napoleon's residence, but was destroyed by fire 4 years later during the Communard uprising of 1871 - all that remains today is the Jardin des Tuileries. The new avenue was intended to enable the sovereign to visit the opera without the risk of another attack. Charles Garnier was violently opposed to the tree planting planned by urban planner Haussmann: nothing should disrupt the perspective and conceal his work.

It should be noted that this avenue was not part of the urban plan to reshape Paris. Its purpose was to preserve the Emperor's security, and also to build purely speculative buildings - homes, but above all the headquarters of major corporations, mainly banks and insurance companies, department stores and luxury boutiques.

It also led to the demolition of an entire neighborhood and numerous expropriations. As a result, the Avenue de l'Opéra was not completed until 1879, well after the completion of the Palais Garnier (1875) and the fall of the Second Empire (1870).

The Grand Hôtel, on the corner of Boulevard des Capucines, was built in 1867 for the Universal Exhibition, at the same time as the opera house facade.

Garnier Opera of Paris: two inaugurations!

The Garnier opera house was inaugurated on August 15, 1867, with only the main façade completed, right down to the buttons, garlands and bas-reliefs on the attic frieze, to coincide with the Universal Exhibition of the same year.

The second inauguration took place on January 5, 1875, after the fall of Napoleon III (1870). But in the meantime, Paris had suffered the bloody episodes of the Commune of 1871, the occupation of Paris by German troops following the 1870 war with Prussia, and the financial state of the country. On top of this, a change of regime (from the Empire to the 3rd Republic) meant that the building, the symbol of the deposed Emperor, was an embarrassment. But on October 28, 1873, the opera house that had been "in operation" since 1821, the old Le Peletier opera house, went up in smoke. Charles Garnier, sidelined by the 3rd Republic, was immediately recalled to resume the work he had been forced to abandon.

The second inauguration on January 5, 1875 was attended by French President Mac Mahon, the Lord Mayor of London, the Burgomaster of Amsterdam, the Spanish royal family and nearly two thousand guests from all over Europe and beyond. The program included works by Auber, Havely, Rossini (Guillaume Tell) Myerbeer and Léo Delibes' ballet La Source. The acoustic quality was so good that some of the audience members pointed out the numerous errors in the librettos.

A less amusing and rather petty anecdote: Charles Garnier may or may not have been invited (sources differ on this point), but had to pay for his seat in a second box. This particularly regrettable incident, mocked by the press of the time - "an administration charging the architect for the right to attend the inauguration of its own monument! - expresses the new rulers' rejection of those who, in one way or another, served the deposed emperor, and the usual ingratitude of the powerful towards artists.

On February 7 of the same year, 1875, the republican authorities organized the Opéra's famous masked and transvestite ball, created in 1715 under royalty. The main annual chic event of the Paris Carnival, it took place in the Nouvel-Opéra hall. It drew eight thousand participants and continued until 1903.

Garnier Opera of Paris in figures

  • Surface area: 15,000 m2
  • Floor area: 12,000 m2
  • Total floor area: 66,640 m2
  • Total floor area: 57,946 m2
  • Total length: 173 meters;
  • Maximum width: 125 meters;
  • Height from bottom of tank to Apollo's lyre and lightning rod: 73.60 meters;
  • Height of grand staircase: 30 meters;
  • Dimensions of the grand foyer: 18 meters high, 54 meters long and 13 meters wide;
  • Hall dimensions: 20 meters high, 32 meters deep, 31 meters wide at its widest point;
  • Weight of chandelier: 7 to 8 tons;
  • Main characteristics of the stage: 60 meters high, including 45 meters of hangers and 15 meters below, 27 meters deep, 48.50 meters wide with a 16-meter frame opening.

Garnier Opera Paris: architectural composition

Main facade to the south, Place de l'Opéra

Garnier himself chose the fourteen painters, mosaicists and seventy-three sculptors, including the famous Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, to work on the ornamentation.


East facade

The entrance to this façade is marked by a series of green marble columns, two of which are surmounted by a large bronze imperial eagle, a symbol miraculously preserved after the Second Empire. The Pavillon de l'Empereur (Emperor's Pavilion), never completed, leads directly into a garden-side dressing room. These salons, unfinished by Napoleon III, were later converted to house a library of 600,000 theater-related documents, including autograph scores by Rameau, Gluck, Rossini, Wagner, Massenet, Charpentier, Hahn and Poulenc. The salons also house a museum of some 8,500 objects, 2,500 stage models, 3,000 miscellaneous works including 500 paintings, 3,000 pieces of stage jewelry, etc.
A monument to Charles Garnier, who died in 1898, was erected on the west façade in 1903.


East facade

Visible from Rue Halévy, Rue Gluck and Place Jacques Rouché. It is preceded by a series of green marble columns leading into the Subscribers' Pavilion (this façade is the exact counterpart of the west façade). In 2007, a restaurant project finally came to fruition in 2009 with the opening of the 2 Michelin-starred Opéra Restaurant, accessible to all without passing through the box office.


North side

Charles Garnier laid out a courtyard to facilitate the entry of various employees, to receive sets and props and bring them directly to the freight elevator leading to the stage level.

Opéra Garnier Paris: layout, volumes and interior design

Grand vestibule
The main entrance leads to a first vaulted vestibule where four large stone sculptures immediately catch the eye: from left to right, Rameau, Lully, Gluck and Handel in seated position. After a few steps, this interior gallery leads to the vestibule du Contrôle and then to the grand staircase.


Control lobby
A buffer space between the main vestibule and the grand staircase. It is used to screen entrances before entering the main hall.


Subscribers' rotunda
Charles Garnier discreetly signed his work in the former Subscribers' Rotunda: a ceiling adorned with arabesques where the name of the master builder of the Opéra Garnier can be read.


Glacier rotunda at the end of the bar gallery
Note its brightness and the ceiling painted by Georges Jules-Victor Clairin (Paris, 1843 - Belle-Île-en-Mer, 1919).


Avant-foyer or foyer des Mosaïques
A meeting place for spectators before each performance or during intermissions, the foyers are vast and richly decorated, leaving not a single space unused.


Grand foyer and lounges

The design of the grand foyer was inspired by the galleries of 16th-century French Renaissance châteaux (Château de Fontainebleau) and those of Louis XIV (Galerie d'Apollon at the Louvre, Galerie des Glaces at Versailles). Mirrors and windows opening onto the surrounding streets and facades further accentuate the room's vast dimensions.

Until the 19th century, the foyers of entertainment venues were reserved for the exclusive use of male guests. Meanwhile, the ladies entertained in their respective dressing rooms. However, on the day of the Palais Garnier's inauguration, the Queen of Spain wished to admire the gallery in the grand foyer. A taboo disappeared with this initiative, and the Queen's entourage and other ladies of good society of the time were not to be outdone. From that day on, women were also allowed to stroll through the foyer and salons of the theaters.


Salons "de la Lune et du Soleil"
Placed at the east and west ends of the foyer, two modest rotundas were painted by the decorators Philippe Marie Chaperon (Paris, 1823 - id., 1906 or 1907) and Auguste Alfred Rubé (Paris, 1805 or 1815 - id., 1899), friends of the architect.


Grand staircase

The remarkable layout, height and volume of the nave, never seen before, the magnificence of the interior walls and the variety of materials used: subtly colored marble, onyx and copper handrails, countless paintings, mosaics and gilding. The scope and ingenuity of its layout and decoration have made this grand staircase one of the most celebrated and appreciated areas of the Palais Garnier.

At the foot of the staircase, two bronze torch statues by Albert-Ernest Carrier de Belleuse dit Carrier-Belleuse (Anizy-le-Château, 1824 - Sèvres, 1887) represent female figures holding gas and then electric lights.

The white marble staircase has a double revolution, with the steps divided into several levels with wide, impressive, slender flights and refined curves. The steps of the grand staircase, which go from concave to convex, are in white marble from Seravezza (Italy). Only one of them is straight. They follow the curvature of the onyx balustrade, whose base is in green Swedish marble and whose 128 balusters are in antique red marble.

The grand staircase leads first to the amphitheater, parterre, orchestra and baths, and the following flights distribute the audience between the clearings and balconies on the four interior facades with geminated columns and three bays of arcades, to the various salons and foyers, and finally to the peripheral corridors leading to the dressing rooms and balconies on the different levels of the auditorium.


Main auditorium
The main auditorium is the very heart of the palace. Shaped like a horseshoe, with balconies, boxes and stalls on five levels and an upper gallery, it was designed along the lines of an Italian-style theater. Garnier wanted to innovate by designing a room proportionately smaller than the gigantic volume housing the stage equipment. Nevertheless, its dimensions remain impressive: almost thirty-one meters wide, thirty-two meters deep and twenty meters high.
It can hold two thousand spectators with just over nineteen hundred seats.
This prestigious venue is dressed in dominant shades of red and gold.


Parterre and balconies
The orchestra seats are upholstered in red velvet.
Bathtubs, dressing rooms and their seats and benches are dressed in velvet, and their partitions in damask and drapery. All furnishings are in subtle shades of crimson.
The blind upper gallery was originally designed for music lovers, Conservatory students and composers who, for a modest fee, could listen to music and song by ear, with or without a score.


The two ceiling domes
The first dome on the ceiling of the Great Hall is the work of painter Jules Eugène Lenepveu (Angers, 1819 - Paris, 1898), Grand Prix de Rome in 1847. This painting is now concealed by a second one, hung beneath the original. The final model, developed by the painter before execution to scale, is in the Musée d'Orsay.

The new ceiling covering the original was designed by Marc Chagall (Vitebsk, 1887 - Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 1985) at the invitation of his friend André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs at the time. It's a five-part, vividly colored synthesis of the great milestones and representative works in the history of the arts of opera and dance, and of some of the most outstanding composers in the operatic and choreographic repertoire. The work was executed by Roland Bierge.

Even before its installation on September 24, 1964, the ceiling provoked controversy.
Critics pointed out the aesthetic incoherence of this ceiling, with its garish colors amid the moldings and gilding typical of neoclassical architecture, and considered that it showed the contempt of the powers that be for the art of the Second Empire.
Nevertheless, this work has restored to the Opéra Garnier the curiosity it had somewhat lost in the post-war years. Despite the media interest it generated, the decision remains artistically controversial to this day.


The grand chandelier

The height of the chandelier (8 m) is that of a small house. Made of gilded bronze and crystal, it features 340 gas spouts on five crowns, which were replaced by electric bulbs in 1881. The design is by Charles Garnier himself, and the casting was carried out in the Lacarrière and Delatour workshops. It was restored in 1989. It weighs between 7 and 8 tons.

The grand chandelier almost never saw the light of day. During the long development period, several critics claimed that the chandelier was uninteresting, that it would spoil the acoustics and obstruct vision from too many seats and boxes. The master builder had to use all his powers of persuasion, and in the end won over the critics.

Maintenance of the chandelier was carried out in a specially-designed area above Lenepveu's dome. Today, the chandelier is lowered to man-height.

An accident occurred on May 20, 1896.  A broken counterweight caused the chandelier to fall on the audience during a performance of Gounod's Faust. Many people were injured, and one woman (a concierge with a passion for opera) was killed.

This sad and exceptional event inspired Gaston Leroux to write an episode of Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, published in 1910. It also featured in Marcel Landowski's Ballet of the same name, choreographed by Roland Petit.

Note
In the early days of the new Opéra Garnier, the lights were kept on during the show: the theater was primarily a place to be seen. It wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that darkness was imposed, much to the satisfaction of true fans of the operas and choreographies on offer.


Stage and backstage
The orchestra pit precedes the proscenium. In the foreground of this overhang used to be a lighting rig, the famous prompter's hole and the hole for the technician in charge of light changes, who at the time operated the Palais Garnier's first organ-playing system.

The stage is so open that it once allowed horses to gallop across its sixteen-meter width.

The stage curtain, draped in red and gold and painted in trompe-l'œil, is surmounted by an imposing mantling with a cartouche at its center. It features a motto chosen by Garnier himself, and the inscription "ANNO 1669" recalls the founding of the Académie royale de musique.

Fire was the number-one fear of theatrical administrators when it came to disasters. Hence the compulsory presence of a fireman on duty during rehearsals and performances, a manual - now automatic - sprinkler system for the stage or "grand secours", and a high air evacuation system for rapid smoke extraction. In addition, the stage and auditorium were isolated in the event of a fire breaking out beyond the stage.

The stage

The 1,350 m2 oak-plank stage can accommodate up to four hundred and fifty artists, singers, dancers and extras. Its traditional 5% slope towards the auditorium means that, on special occasions, it can be extended backwards through the opening of the foyer de la Danse, located at the back of the stage and exactly in line with it. For corps de ballet parades, ballroom evenings and other special events, this arrangement makes it possible to achieve a total depth of almost fifty meters from the pit.


Underneath and hangers
From the deepest point to the top of the stage opening, the whole structure reaches a record height of sixty metres.

In addition to the stage, its walls support complex equipment for moving artists and technicians, and for changing sets and lights. Underneath, old capstans are still preserved, as precious witnesses to the Opera's first decades of operation.

Today, all this technical equipment is automated and computer-controlled from backstage and the control rooms.


The bells
There are several sets of bells used during performances. To see some photos, visit http://www.forum-dansomanie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2144


The great organ
The great organ built by the famous organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll has been out of service for decades. Restoration is apparently planned...
An organ at the Opéra is used in a number of operas, starting with the most famous of them all, Charles Gounod's Faust, but also Jacques-Fromental Halévy's La Juive, Jules Massenet's Werther and many others.

Foyer de la Danse

This foyer, used for corps de ballet rehearsals, features a sloping floor identical to that of the stage, but with an inverted slope. This subtlety accentuates the effects of perspective when its space is used as an extension of the main stage and, in particular, for arrivals from the distance.

The Foyer was open to wealthy subscribers to enable them to be in direct contact with the dancers and to have "encounters". In the 19th and early 20th centuries, ballerinas who were poorly paid for their performances and often came from modest backgrounds, agreed to be placed under the "protection" of a representative of the upper middle classes or even the aristocracy.

The expression "s'offrir une danseuse", still used today, comes from this little-known and inglorious practice in the most prestigious opera houses.
The practice died out in the early 1930s. From then on, subscribers were forbidden to enter the foyer and backstage areas.


Administration offices
This part of the building is treated with a rigor, even sobriety, that contrasts with the other Opéra buildings. Its designer moved the administration, considered a less "noble" function, to the back of the plot and close to the boulevard that would soon bear the name of its patron, Préfet Haussmann.


Roofs and crowns

The domes are covered in copper, which oxidizes to a greenish color. The rest of the building is now covered in zinc, as are most of the roofs in Paris. Statues were also added to enhance the overall effect.


Set and costume workshops
These are not in the Opéra, but on boulevard Berthier in the 17th arrondissement of Paris ("Ateliers Berthier").
The site is used, in part, for performances at the Théâtre de l'Odéon.


Sets for current shows
When the Opéra was built, an entire system for maneuvering the sets was built in the fifth basement, based on the model used in the navy. Capstans (wooden drums 3.50 m long and 2 m in diameter) were used to lift large quantities of scenery and perform numerous movements on stage (appearances, trap doors, moving different levels, etc.). A multitude of ropes, passing over return pulleys and scenery elements, make it possible to manipulate different elements on a single capstan, or to use two or three drums for a single set. These mechanisms have been in use since the days of Louis XIV, with sailors themselves coming to theaters to install them and explain how they work.

After the First World War, the system, which until then had been manually operated, switched to electricity. This was only a transitional period. Today, over the past fifteen years or so, those big reels have been abandoned to make way for robotics. Everything is now computerized and controlled from backstage by computers. Today, only around fifty reels remain in the Opera's third to fifth basements.

Visit the "Palais Garnier"

The "Palais Garnier" as it is often called, is more than an opera house. It's a truly spectacular monument, reflecting the wealth and magnificence of the late 19th century. You don't have to "go to the opera" to see a show, just visit it. See below for entrance tickets (compulsory):

  • Opening hours and closing periods
  • Reservation

The Palais Garnier: successive modernizations and restorations

Electric lighting was installed in the main auditorium as early as 1881. In the early 1950s, the back of the stage was adapted to accommodate new elevators and freight elevators to facilitate the movement of employees and artists, and the handling of sets from the North Courtyard.

In 1964, Minister of Culture Malraux commissioned the painter Chagall to cover the ceiling of the auditorium, which seats 2130 spectators. This large red and gold auditorium is located exactly in the middle of the opera house, while the rear of the building is occupied by the dressing rooms and the stage machinery, which were very modern for the time.

In 1990, a major restoration campaign began on the stage, auditorium and main facade of the Palais Garnier, as well as the restoration of the grand foyer and adjoining salons, which is continuing on a multi-year schedule, bringing the building's electrical networks up to standard.

In 2000, a thorough and scientific restoration of the façade followed by a facelift enabled the public to discover the original polychrome decoration, gilding and variety of materials, some of which had been imported from faraway lands. The gilded initials of Napoleon and Eugénie have been reinstalled on the medallions above the façade, which had been removed after the fall of the Second Empire.

In May 2004, the prestigious decorations designed by the architect for the grand foyer and inaugurated for the first time on January 5, 1875 were restored to their former glory (in 1928, an unfortunate fire had destroyed the gold curtains and hangings).

In 2007, the south-facing forecourt was restored, and in 2010, the west facade of the palace.

Today, the Garnier Opera is used for both ballet and opera performances. The Palais Garnier can also be used for special events (visits by heads of state, Grandes Écoles balls, New Year's Eve parties, etc.).

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