The Palais Garnier is probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre, or the Eiffel tower. It is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 by Napoleon III for the Paris Opera. This is the thirteenth building to house the Paris Opera since it's founding in 1669 by Louis IV. The Opera has now relocated to L’Opera de la Bastille as of 1989 and the Garnier is used mostly for ballet. The new opera house has had some issues with appearance and acoustics but both “opera houses” are sold out for every performance.
The selection of the architect was the subject of an architectural design competition in 1861, a competition which was won by the architect Charles Garnier (1825–1898).