The Paris Opera House, or The Palais Garnier,  is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house. Built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera, it is sometimes referred to as simply the Opéra. Today, it is mainly used for the ballet.

The Palais Garnier is probably the most famous opera house in the world and is partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical and several films of the novel have added to the popularity.

Not even knowing about this building before going to France, it is the first building I would like to visit if I ever have the opportunity to return. It was closed when we were there, so I was not able to see the inside. It was the inspiration for the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and lives up to its reputation as a building of exceptional opulence.


The Paris Opera House, or The Palais Garnier, is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.


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