A little history of Garnier opera
One of the biggest theatre in the world, born in the Second Empire! In fact, before that time, we found theatres outside Paris. But they were impractical, dangerous!
On January 14th 1858, emperor Napoleon III had a narrow escape, while he went to theatre in the actual 9th arrondissement: an assassination attempt nearly killed him! They really needed a more secure theatre inside Paris...
They chose the place in 1860: boulevard des Capucines. They wanted to raise a theatre but also a vast avenue and the restoration of the whole district! This huge task was entrusted to Charles Garnier.
In 1861, the building site began with the soil reinforcement. Big, big work! Because they had to channel a big underground river, discovered during the building site: it was called the Grange Batelière, the legendary river that would run above the Opera...
They laid the first stone down in 1862: building site lasted from 1861 to 1875. And finally, the inauguration! With emperor Napoleon III and president Mac-Mahon.
Napoleon wasn’t completely bowled over by the new building!
Empress Eugenie told the architect: “What’s that style? Is it Greek, or Louis XVI fashion?" Garnier answered: "Oh, no! Not at all. Its Napoleon III and you’re complaining about?”
Napoleon said “Don’t bother, Mr. Garnier, Mrs. isn’t familiar at all with art!"