I, of course, already posted about the “Opéra Garnier” (e.g. here) and then also gave a bit of history of the building and its architect, Charles Garnier, so I will not repeat all this. Maybe just, as a reminder, some illustrations from previous posts.
The facade was renovated some five or six years ago. Now one of the sides has also been seriously refreshed. This is where you can find the special entrance built for the Emperor, Napoleon III, maybe a reason to give some more historical information.
There had been different opera houses in Paris. The precursor to “Opéra Garnier” was “Salle le Peletier”, built 1821. In 1858, on their way there to watch Rossini’s “WilliamTell”, the Emperor and the Empress, Napoléon III and Eugénie, were attacked by an Italian revolutionary, Felice Orsini. The Emperor and the Empress escaped, but eight people were killed and some 142 were wounded. This may have been one of the major reasons to build another opera house… and to prepare a safer access. The same year, the decision was taken. The construction of “Opéra Garnier” started in 1861. Revolution and war delayed the work. The opera was ready for official inauguration in 1875 and the wide “Avenue de l’Opéra”, another Haussmann creation, was ready slightly later – all the narrow and “dangerous” streets to accede the opera had disappeared. A special entrance for the Emperor and the Empress had been added…. In the meantime Napoléon III had be forced to capitulate, in 1870.
Here we can see the “Salle de Peletier”, before and after it burnt – in 1873 – probably due to gas lighting….
… and here we can see where the previous opera was to be found and where we find the “Opéra Garnier”…
… and here we can see what the area between the Louvre (the home of the Emperor and the Empress) and the opera looked like in 1860 and today.
Sorry…, the idea was actually to show you what the renovated western side of the “Opéra Garnier” now looks like, after renovation. You may especially notice the ramps leading to the “safe” entrance.
Here (to the left) is how the pillars, lights, statues… were kept standing before the restoration (photos from the not yet renovated eastern side of the building) and how they today (to the right) are able to “stand” by themselves! A nice job! There still remains the refreshing of the other side and the back side of the building.