Charles Garnier - 19th century French architect

If you have heard of Garnier, chances are you are a fan of both opera and architecture. This great French architect designed both the Paris Opéra and the Casino of Monte-Carlo.

Born in Paris in 1825, Garnier entered evening school at the Ecole Gratuite de Dessin and in 1842 he entered the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts where he studied and learned from of Louis-Hippolyte Lebas. Garnier went to Rome for five years (where he among other things studied Roman pageantry), and also completed his architectural education with travels to Greece and Turkey in the 1850s.

His studies of Roman pageantry gave Garnier a great sense of drama and special occasion - which he in collaboration with a great floor plan used to great success in the construction of the Paris opera house (a design assignment that he won through a competition in 1861). His style, as seen in the Paris opera house, soon became known as “Syle Napoleon III”.

But Garnier is not only famous for the Paris Opéra of course. Other examples in Paris include his municipal posts, being architect of the fifth and sixth arrondissements in Paris.

Still, Charles Garnier was not ‘all France’ either. He worked across Europe and his work was also recognized there. In England, he received the royal gold medal of the Royal Institute of Architects in 1886, given by Queen Victoria.

Some samples of his works are, in France: Palais Garnier, Ateliers Berthier (on the boulevard of the same name, this was his last completed project), Theatre Marigny, Tomb of Jaques Offenbach (at the Montmartre cemetery), the casino and thermal baths of Vittel, the Astronomical Observatoru in Nice (which he constructed together with Eiffel), the church of Chapelle-en-Thiérache.

Samples of his works abroad include: The casino of Monaco/the opéra and the Grand Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo plus Ecole Communale, Villa Garnier, Villa Studio, Villa Bischoffsheim and Eglise de Terrasanta of Bordighera Italy (a place in Italy that he visited very much).

Gamier died on the 3rd of August 1898.