Paris: Academie Nationale de Musique

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The Academie de Musique in Paris is also known as the Palais Garnier and is an opera house. In 1860, Napoleon III and Baron Georges-Eugene initiated a competition for architects to design a structure to be used as a new state funded opera house. The French architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier was awarded the project and construction started in 1861.

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Construction was completed at the end of 1874 and finally opened in January 1875. Garnier had travelled to Rome, Greece and Turkey and the influence of his studies is evident in the huge paired corinthian columns, symmetry and the opulent exterior ornamentation.

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Built on a framework of metal girders, the facade features highly decorated statues depicting Greek mythology and two 7.5m high gilt copper figures. The French sculptor Charles Gumery, who worked in a realist manner, designed the gilded figural groups. The huge building is considered Beaux-Arts in its architectural style.