From the place Vendôme the Rue de la Paix brings us to the Opéra Garnier. Its unique appearence is due to a mixture of materials and styles ranging from classical to baroque , with a multitude of columns, friezes and scluptures on the exterior, the typical exemple of Napoleon III’s style.
Built between 1862 and 1875 by Charles Garnier, the Paris opera is a baroque example of neoclassicism: It has an ornamented facade, monumental stairs and Italian type hall with Chagall paintings on the ceiling. Maria Callas and Rudolf Noureev are among the many artists who wrote its history as one of the world foremost scenic stages for opera and ballet alike. The Opera building is a perfect example of 19th century stage architecture, hides its iron frame under flamboyant decoration. The overall impression is harmonious in spite of the diversity of its inspiration and the temes taken up by Charles Garnier. He personally supervised the integration in the architecture of decorative works entrusted to sculptors, painters and mosaic artists representative, as himself was, of state-sponsored artists.
From the end of the XIXth century down to the present day, several restoration and modernization programmes have made the theatre increasingly functional without lessening its appeal as a monument: technical progress and the evolution of sets under the influence of "verism".
Most operas are now performed in the new Opera Bastille, but the ballet remains here .