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The Garnier Opera House, or the Palais Garnier, is an opera house located in the heart of Paris in the 9th district, to the north of the Tuileries Gardens, facing the Seine.
Included in the plans of Napoleon III for renovating Paris, directed by Baron Haussmann, the Garnier Opera House is the site most representative of the art and architectural style of the Second Empire. A symbol of the opulence that characterized that period, the Opera House was built by the young architect, Charles Garnier, following a design competition, and was inaugurated in 1875. The construction work took fifteen years.
The Garnier Opera House is the largest in Europe: it can hold an audience of 2,000 people at one time. The building's interior is sumptuous, and access to the main hall is via the grand staircase, one of the most remarkable parts of the Palais Garnier. The large entrance hall and its salons were modeled of the galleries in Renaissance castles, richly endowed and decorated with mirrors and golden, sparkling mosaics.
In the main hall, under the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall and its huge crystal chandelier, the magnates of the time came to see and be seen, accompanied by their spouses. Today, the Garnier Opera House is still a prestigious and magnificent edifice where one can attend extremely beautiful productions of music and dance.