Smaller than the Opera Bastille, This neo-baroque building was built by Charles Garnier in the 1860s, and drips with statuary and friezes, its interior full of gold leaf, red velvet and cherubs. The whopping chandelier weighs six tons, and the gorgeous ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall in 1964. It can accommodate the most extravagant performances, with a stage big enough for 450 performers, and revolving machinery that can carry running horses.
The underground lake and cellars inspired Gaston Leroux to write The Phantom of the Opera; in real life the lake was a bind for the builders, with eight months of day-and-night pumping required before the show could go on. Opera and ballet performances here often sell out weeks in advance but, as at Opera Bastille, there are day tickets available if you're determined. Visiting conductors include Emmanuelle Haim and Marc Minkowksi.